A woman active at a parish I once belonged to complained at a liturgy committee meeting that she was offended at having to pray, “O Lord, I am not worthy to receive you.” This was in the 1980s, when issues of self-esteem were just getting to be hot topics in the therapy and self-help worlds
We can get so caught up in battling our personal demons that we forget that our relationship with God takes place on a completely different level than our relationships with one another, with past or present authority figures, with ourselves.
Another parish I belonged to once described the Christian journey as “Getting Along With Self, Getting Along With Others and Getting Along with God.” And a current fad in evangelical Christianity encourages women to think of God as their “boyfriend
These trends all suggest the inherent danger of focusing too much on the human side of God’s presence with his people. The feast of the Incarnation celebrates the great mystery of God becoming one of us. These Sundays between Christmas and the beginning of Lent remind us that God is still God and we are called to follow as disciples, not buddies
All three of our readings describe people who were extraordinarily sure of themselves and their missions. Yet all three recognize their complete unworthiness in the presence of the Holy One.
Isaiah’s call to be a prophet begins with a vision of the heavenly court. There’s no question about the divine presence guiding his life. And he is both awed and bolstered by God’s transcendence. While confessing his own sin and the sin of his people, he confidently responds to the summons with, “Here I am, send me
Paul, having experienced a total conversion of his beliefs and activities, places himself on a par with the apostles who journeyed with the Lord throughout his time on earth. And yet he knows that even though he was chosen by God for a special mission to the gentiles, in the divine sight, he is nothing. He summarizes his ministry in these words: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective
In the Gospel, Peter, the professional fisherman, recognizes the hand of God in Jesus’ miraculous catch of fish. And in that bright light of faith, he knows that his own skills pale by comparison. He clearly recognizes that the power that created and sustains the universe is now sitting in his boat catching fish. And he is willing to leave everything he knows behind to follow this man. As one preacher put it, “I picture Peter saying, ‘Leave me, Lord,’ while clinging to his ankles
The dazzling light of God’s presence and love can reveal areas in our own life where darkness has hidden flaws and imperfections. While we might initially feel horrified by such revelations, the next healthy response is to change those things into healthier attitudes and actions. This is not your mother or your spouse telling you to lose some weight or clean up your room. This is God encouraging, even challenging, us to be all that he knows we have been created to be
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