Freedom of conscience

Freedom of conscience is the basis of all other freedoms. No one should be forced to act contrary to their beliefs. This applies to freedom of speech, freedom of press, etc. Nor should anyone be forced to be silent if something violates their conscience. Freedom of religion is, of course, part of freedom of conscience. But a freedom is not the same as a right. Fredom of religion does not extend to human sacrifice, because that would violate the right to life. Of course, conscience can be malformed, such as in the case of the Nazi persecution of Jews or of abortion. Both of these violate the right to life. Fundamentally, a good conscience supports peace, love and service.

A woman is the most exalted of all human beings

Jesus is superhuman, Mary is simply human, all our own. She is exalted not merely because she is the mother of Jesus, but because she was the first and most ardent of his disciples. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth the latter said “Blessed is she who believed that the promises madee to her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” After the visit of the Shepherds “Mary treasured all these thing is h
er heart and pondered upon them.” Motherhood itself is not to be denigrated. Without it none of us would be here. During the crucifixion Jesus entrusted his mother to the beloved disciple. This is his way of making her the mother of us all.

Thanksgiving

Lord, you have given so much to me;
Grant me one thing more,
A thankful heart.

Continue to remind me to give thanks throughout the day for the things I perceive as good. And with your grace I will eventually give thanks even for suffering and for unpleasant events, for they provide opportunities for growth and for making them redemptive by uniting them with the sufferings of Jesus.

And now I give thanks for writing this post.

All for God

See Luke 21:1-4

Observe this widow, how her back is bent
From years of toil to earn a scanty crust,
Washing the clothes of wealthy fops intent
On feasting grandly and the joys of lust.

See now these others standing tall and straight,
Their bodies bathed an oiled with utmost care,
Arrayed in garments for affairs of state,
With not an errant spot or speck or hair.

These of their abundance have given so;
She of her penury has given little;
But all their lavishness is but for show,
While she has given all, her every tittle.

Therefore I tell you she is greatly blessed,
For she has given more than all the rest.

Today’s Gospel: Joy over repentant sinner

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.

Today’s Gospel: Discipleship

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

the Father.

Praying for the Dead

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.

Religion is not Just for Comfort

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.

A Parable of God’s Love

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.