Journeying with the Magi

At times discernment has not been difficult ~ I know what’s in my heart ~ I know my passion ~ I know the fire that’s burning inside of myself ~ I know God calls me there.

So what about when all those opportunities are confiscated by man.  What about when the jealousy of man murders someones future in more ways than one.  What about when every path ~ passage ~ and doorway is slammed shut in your face ~ or when you knock longingly and no one will let you in.

What about jobs that are lost ~ dreams that are lost ~ friendships that are lost ~ relationships that are lost ~ what about when our purpose is denied and lost forever in the passing of time and age ~  What then ~ when we realise we are the ones that have been sacrificed by others.  Life slain beyond repair.

What then?

What happens when we are uninvited ~ rejected ~ excluded ~ devastated?

What then?

What happens then is that the most beautiful God comes to meet us in a very unique ~ precise ~ tailored ~ special ~ and absolutely unexpected way.   He gives us rights that no one else has rights to ~ that no one else has access to ~ that no one else is blessed with. Grace bestowed above and beyond the law of those below.

Sacred gifts ~ that in part are realised in isolation ~ and in desperation ~ and eventually realised in imagination.  And then what all at once was a conscious ~ unstoppable ~ unbearable ~ desperate falling into the blackest most devoid exterior abyss of a living nightmare ~ Somehow ~ Someway ~ becomes a curiously unconscious ~ labour-panging birthing ~ into a wondering that gives  way to an interior dream that comes seemingly not from the conscious-you at all ~ but from God.

I Am desperately sad at my Catholic Diocesan/Parish/Church life coming to an end ~ I mourn like a grieving bride mourns when her betrothed beloved is killed upon the day of returning from duty ~ or like Rachel lamenting and wailing over the loss of her children. No one can comfort her ~ no one can give her back what is lost for eternity.  The hurting is guttural and leaves a death stench in the bottom of ones gut.  When pain supersedes all pain, and one feels slowly and very publicly hung drawn and quartered by the very Church that she so intimately Loved ~ and by the very conception that once upon a time she had secretly bequeathed her life and her heart to.

And then beyond the agony ~ beyond the crucifixion ~ beyond the law ~ beyond all death and termination ~ a little dot like a blip of life mutates ~ and mutation by mutation life slowly regenerates into something of His doing ~ and into something of our trusting in whatever it is that He is doing.

And its full of lonely wonder.

A small amount of gifted money ~ added to a smaller amount of savings has meant that (with no other possible option) a 550 year old unexceptional (from the outside) property, that appears to be unpractical or impossible to sell at a decent price (in order that anyone can realistically move forward), now has to be rethought ~ rejigged ~ and somehow reincarnated.

I can not continue to live under the ‘oppression’ that quietly rejoices in the fact that I have walked away from the Catholic Church ~ and from everything that was supposed to be a part of my future ~ a victory to my oppressors ~ Two Judas’s ~ the Cohabitatio ~ and the Church  ~ both betraying me ~ both feeding me each to the others oppression ~ neither with any alms outstretched in mercy ~ and never any consolation.

But God

For hidden beneath the unexceptionalness of the ceilings in this humble little grade-2 listed property, is one of the most exceptional medieval roofs in the country ~ never before seen by a soul (other than the inhabitants of this cottage ~ and the odd workman).  Hidden above the modern plasterboard ceilings is a heavenly roof ~ even more grand than these ones below.

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Its far more remarkable than even these pictures (which were the best examples that I could find online.)  My roof has far heavier queen beams ~ with giant wooden pegs joining them all together ~ and Arcs like a Church.

And so in absolute desperation at loosing my sacred little S† Sabina’s chapel to worship in, I decided to get a quote from a carpenter friend.  Having looked into it previously with a bigger company, it was way beyond my means.  However my carpenter friend has broken down each part of the work into affordable bite-size portions.  Soon he is going to put my stairway to Heaven in ~ and then to strengthen and lay a floor ~ and eventually he will insulate ~ board ~ and plaster between all the beams.

I Am going to design and create my very own private chapel ~ where I can reverently worship Chris† in the Blessed Sacrament ~ and the Chapel and the Tabernacle will be designed with the greatest of Love.

Here in the Heavens I can worship until my heart’s content.

And not only that ~ it is such a massive loft space, (its spans the entire three rooms of the floor below) that as well as the chapel ~ I can also move my sanctuary up here.  There will be a starlight window put in, where I can climb out on to the back roof if need be ~ stargazing.   And I will have a little lamp lit corner with 2 barrel chairs for Spiritual Direction ~ with tea and coffee-making facilities ~ & my writing desk will be placed below the Gable End window overlooking the garden ~ below the stars.  And who knows . . . .  maybe even one day I can have a small bathroom up here too.

However most of all ~ for now ~ I just cant wait to Worship in my chapel.  A House Church ~ Just like 73 Sydney Street.  And who knows ~ one day it might not just be a hermitage ~ or a monostery (a monastery for One.) ~ One day it might even become a blessed Ignatian medieval cottage retreat ~ after all ~ the property was built in the age of S† Ignatius.

The house opposite is called Lamb House.

Maybe this one should be called Shepherds Rest ~ or Shepherdess ~ or maybe it should be called ~ The Way of Love.

God is Faithful.

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Dear Lord

a_kiss

 

Dear Lord,

Harden not my heart.

Steep me in your tenderness.

Infuse me with your gentleness.

Arouse me with Belovedness.

Enrapture me with wonder.

 

 

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Security; Blanket Teaching

Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas

Jason Soroski
jasonsoroski.wordpress.com
2015
14 Dec

Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas

This week A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on national prime time television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 50 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.

I am a fan of all things nostalgic and all things Christmas, and so when the two are combined I am hooked, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special falls squarely into that category.

I was in the first grade back when they still performed Christmas pageants in schools (less than 50 years, but still a very long time ago), and our class performed a version of the Charlie Brown Christmas. Since I was kind of a bookworm and already had a blue blanket, I was chosen to play the part of Linus. As Linus, I memorized Luke 2:8-14, and that Scripture has been hidden in my heart ever since.

“8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field * , keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo , the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid * . 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold , I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes , lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying , 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

But while working so diligently to learn those lines, there is one important thing I didn’t notice then, and didn’t notice until now.
Right in the middle of speaking, Linus drops the blanket.

Charlie Brown is best known for his uniquely striped shirt, and Linus is most associated with his ever-present security blanket. Throughout the story of Peanuts, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally and others all work to no avail to separate Linus from his blanket. And even though his security blanket remains a major source of ridicule for the otherwise mature and thoughtful Linus, he simply refuses to give it up.
Until this moment. When he simply drops it.
In that climactic scene when Linus shares “what Christmas is all about,” he drops his security blanket, and I am now convinced that this is intentional. Most telling is the specific moment he drops it: when he utters the words, “fear not” (at :38 seconds).

Looking at it now, it is pretty clear what Charles Schultz was saying, and it’s so simple it’s brilliant.
The birth of Jesus separates us from our fears.
The birth of Jesus frees us from the habits we are unable (or unwilling) to break ourselves.
The birth of Jesus allows us to simply drop the false security we have been grasping so tightly, and learn to trust and cling to Him instead.

The world of 2015 can be a scary place, and most of us find ourselves grasping to something temporal for security, whatever that thing may be. Essentially, 2015 is a world in which it is very difficult for us to “fear not.”
But in the midst of fear and insecurity, this simple cartoon image from 1965 continues to live on as an inspiration for us to seek true peace and true security in the one place it has always been and can always still be found.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL… READ PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE, THE REST OF LINUS’S STORY!

A few days ago, I wrote down some thoughts about a beautiful moment that has been hidden in plain sight for 50 years in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
As a pastor, I am thrilled at the encouragement it has given, and as a former literature teacher, I am thrilled that it has started a firestorm of film analysis! Many of you have pointed out that at the end of the scene, Linus picks the blanket back up, and have openly wondered why.
After the epic, blanket-dropping recitation of Scripture given by Linus in response to Charlie Brown’s quest for meaning, he picks the blanket back up.
Isn’t that anti-climactic?
Why would Linus pick that old security back up after so boldly proclaiming an end to fear? Why does he leave the stage with that security blanket still in his hand?

We first must realize that we all carry that same blanket.
Just like Linus, we may stand tall in a moment of faith and conviction, a moment when Scripture hidden in our heart comes to life, and all else is flung aside as we experience and proclaim the true freedom and security that only Jesus can give.
But at some point, out of habit, we reach down and pick that thing right back up. Faith, while powerful, is also delicate.
Linus clearly knows the truth, and clearly proclaims the truth. The knowledge is there and the wisdom is there and the passion is there. So why does he pick it back up?
I think the answer is strikingly clear. It is because we all do the same thing.
We know. We feel. We proclaim.
Yet we gaze in the mirror one morning to find that tattered old blanket draped over our shoulder yet again. And we realize that we have become so used to it being there that we hardly even noticed it.
But that is not where this blanket story ends.

The show ends with the Peanuts gang not just singing, but clearly and unquestionably singing in worship. Even the musical style at this point is different from anything else heard previously.
The obvious song choice here could have been “O Christmas Tree,” the notes of which have already been playing gently in the background.
But the focus is no longer the tree. The focus has become bigger than the tree. The focus is Jesus.
With this new focus, the kids instead slide effortlessly into “Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King,” and what we are now witnessing is essentially an impromptu worship service.
But before any of this happens, Linus parts with that blanket yet again, and lays it down for good at the base of that beautiful Christmas tree, just as we should strive to not just lay our blanket down just anywhere, but leave it forever behind us at the foot of that cross, for our own good and the good of others.

Linus and friends have moved from speaking truth and hearing truth into a deeper place of worship, where they finally respond to that truth, much like those shepherds who were instructed to “fear not” so very long ago.
It is here at the end of the show that Linus lays that blanket down yet again, and this time? He doesn’t look back.
Publication date: December 21, 2015

As a writer and musician, Jason Soroski strives to communicate in a way that is insightful, meaningful, relevant, and mindful of the small things that we may otherwise overlook in our everyday lives. He effectively taps into his experiences as a worship pastor, classroom teacher, husband, and homeschooling father of five to relate poignant stories from real-life experiences. Jason holds an M.Ed. from Missouri Baptist University, has been featured in various print and web publications, and currently resides in Houston, TX. Read more from Jason at his blog The Way I See It.
Article originally published at The Way I See It.

Nb ~ This Pastor is Married!

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Loving Service

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Moonless

Moonless Darkness Stands Between

But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art Holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and always,
Now begin, on Christmas day.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

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A Prayer Tree ~ The Way of Love

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This years prayer tree ~

which is a beautiful way of inviting All to walk closer into the arms of our loving God ~ is entitled ~ The Way of Love.

It will bless the Christmas tree festival at All Saints Church ~ before being moved to our local Catholic Church.  This is it before it is adorned with the beautiful ballet-pink hearts of prayer ~ offering up our petitions to Our Heavenly Father. †

In Loving memory of Maria Roper

. . .  And this is it after the peoples beautiful sacred prayers have adorned it ~ redressed back in the Catholic Church for Chris†mas.

The sacred little hearts of prayer will all be offered up at Midnight Mass.

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Cardinal Donald Weurl recently said on his blog ~ ‘Rather than a hotel for the perfect, the Church has been rightly and strikingly described as a hospital for the spiritually wounded.”

Indeed I agree ~ the spiritually wounded are indeed living out their lives and ministering from within that very same ‘private hospital’ and not their ‘hotel of perfection’ as so often portrayed.

‘That hospital’ needs all our Love ~ prayer ~ healing ~ & mercy ~ as so beautifully shown us by the Grace of our Father.

However I would go even further in his reflection ~ if we presume that Cardinal Weurl is actually not referring to those on the inside but those on the outside (as he intended) ~ then I would seriously ask the question ~ Spiritually wounded by who?

In my experience I could rightly and strikingly describe that “who” of the church ~ on occasions ~ as more like a Euthanasia Clinic ~ where some ‘medics’ have taken the law into their own hands, beyond the ‘patients’ dignity ~ or legal, lawful, and sound consent ~ and administered euthanasia.

Advocates of foetal pro-life ~ and yet at other times crucifiers ~ in the name and the hope of resurrection.

‘Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.’
Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995
‘The Roman Catholic church regards euthanasia as morally wrong. It has always taught the absolute and unchanging value of the commandment “You shall not kill”.

The church has said that:

nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a foetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying.
Pope John Paul II has spoken out against what he calls a ‘culture of death’ in modern society, and said that human beings should always prefer the way of life to the way of death.

The church regards any law permitting euthanasia as an intrinsically unjust law.’

The way of Life is His Way  . . .

. . . The Way of Love

 

 

 

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