What man among you with a hundred sheep
Would not, if he should find that one had strayed,
Enfold the others on the grassy steep
And seek that single one with heart dismayed?
And when he found it would he not rejoice,
Not check its limbs and feet with tender care,
Not soothe its trembling fear with hand and voice,
And then upon his shoulders homeward bear?
Arived at home he would his neighbors call
Saying “Rejoice with me, for I have found
The sheep which I had lost.” The angels all
Rejoice with me and make a joyful sound
Over a single sinner who repents
Far more than nine and noinety self-styled saints.
Luke 14:25-31. Jesus begins by making the point of this passage “If anyone would be my disciple he must take up his cross and follow me.” He then goes on to use hyperbole and parables to illustrate the point that discipleship must come before anything else, possessions, family, even one’s own life. That is what he did himself in service of the mission he had received from
This is all Souls Day, which is celebrated in Mexico as the Day of the Dead. People visit graves of loved ones and care for them. This is a good custom. Most of us have moved away from our hometown. Fortunately I have a sister who lives in ours and will visit graves. Many religions, even Buddhim,
, have the custom of praying for the dead or even to them.
It is common for agnostics and atheists to claim that religion just comforts believers. Often it means leaving one’s comfort zone. Personally, I left the comfort zone of a secure job to enter graduate school with the goal of using my knowledge of computers in God’s service. In practice this means in the service of our neighbors. Misioanaries leave the comfort of home for often dangerous work among people who are not exactly friendly.
to what shall I your love compare
Of all the things in earth and sky?
What reaches out to light and air
And binds together low and high?
Your love resembles curving space, (gravity)
Which holds all matter in its hand,
Whose fingers focus light’s quick trace,
Whose curve can even time command.
It’s cosmic web embraces all,
The wheels of stars, the grains of dust,
The airy atoms; great or small,
Nothing can escape it’s thrust.
Likewise, your love embraces all,
Each angel, sparrow, seed and hair,
Each human soul despite it’s fall,
As though it were your only care.
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What is dark matter? What is drk energy? We don’t know. Hypotheses of their nature have failed. The search is still going on, but it may take a while. All we really know is that something is making stars in galaxies move faster than they should, and something is causing the expansion of the universe to speed up instead of slowing down. These are the results of observation, not of experiment. We also observe “miracles,” events that appear to run counter to the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. We cannot dismiss observational evidence. Dark matter and dark energy are also the results of observation.
similarly, we observe miracles which seem to be due to the intgerdcession of particularly virtuous persons who have died. This is evidence that human beings somehow persist after the death of the body. Those who insist that the physical world is all there is dismiss evidence of miracles and life after death because it does not fit their frame of thought.
In the spirit of Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary:
Conservative: one who passionately defends old evils.
Liberalo: One who passionately defends new evils.
May any act, however small,
You cannot view with joy and pleasure
Disgust my taste like bitter gall,
For only You are all my treasure.
Help me Lord to use Your gifts
As You would have it, not as I.
Grant grace when resolution drifts
From pleasing You, or I shall die.
I have been angry with God for not making things a little easier. But this morning a little parable that I read somewhere popped into my mind.
A boy saw a cocoon pulsing violently as the butterfly inside tried to get out. Carefully he began to cut the cocon open with his pocketknife. His grandmother saw and drew close to watch. The cocoon was cut open without injuring the insect, but it was a por weak thihng. It was unable to fly and soon died. His grandmother explained that he had deprived it of the struggle it needed to gain strength.