Thursday, March 26, 2009

The INVITATION...

Let's say that the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit~ Three Divine Persons in one true God~ sent you an INVITATION to spend the entire day with them. Let's suppose that God desired to spend the day with you just like when He did with His first children, Adam and Eve, before the fall into sin, where He was accustomed to walking in the garden with them.

Deep inside us we have a yearning for this to happen. There is a reason why we have this burning desire. We are made in the image and likeness of God. He completes us and there is a deep hole, there will always be something missing in our lives until this takes place.

The thing about this reality of our desire to walk with God in our daily life and God's desire for us, is that it isn't just a matter of walking with us for one day. Nor is it about Him walking with us EVERYDAY. It is all about God's burning desire to LIVE within us every moment of our lives... every second of every day.

This INVITATION is REAL and God waits for your response. You can dismiss the invitation and say "this can't be real". You can turn away from daily Mass and even Sunday Mass where God desires to give you His Life through the Body and Blood of His Son in the Eucharist. You can even choose to remain in darkness, sin and the mire of our wounds by turning away from His Mercy and Forgiveness. God won't stop you, but His INVITATION is still there for the taking for whoever wants it.

How do we know this invitation is real? Let's see what God says to us in Scripture. Remember this isn't some apostle's or disciple's version of what they think God is saying... this is Jesus speaking directly to us in Sacred Scripture:

"He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)

"Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our home within him." (John 14:23)

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, in her Last Retreat says this about God's desire to REMAIN in us:

"Remain in Me." It is the Word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but "REMAIN..." permanently, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into the depths..."

This invitation, this communication of God's own life within the Most Holy Trinity is called GRACE. It is a free gift. Again, we can deny it, run away from it, throw it away and dismiss it, but it there for those who want it. Grace won't leave you either. It is always there waiting for you in your daily life to respond to.

For most of my life, I ran away from this invitation and denied it was there. I thought I could be happy with other things... with drugs, with alcohol, with sleeping around and lusting after women. But the more I sought these things, the emptier I became. There was a deep hole within me that longed to be filled and I thought the things of this world could fill it, but the more I tried to fill it with these things, the emptier I became. There came a point in my life where I had become so empty that I was getting drunk every night. Well, on one particular night I remember sitting at a bar and was waiting to hit on a woman... but that never came. So I got in my car to leave. I remember being so drunk that I blacked out. The next thing I knew I was lying on the floor of my room in pool of my own vomit and wondered how I got home. I had the keys of my dad's car in my hand but I didn't remember making it home. But here I was.

I was thinking of where my life was headed without God. My life was completely empty. I knew in the depths of my being that if I had died on that very day that I was going to Hell. I cried out to God on why He would reject me... why would He send me to Hell??? He responded. He told me, "I am not sending you. You are sending yourself to Hell. I gave you an invitation and wanted to be a part of your life, but you are the one who is rejecting My invitation. You are sending yourself to Hell."

I realized what it was that was missing in my life and I wanted it back. The thing about all of this is that I grew up and was raised Catholic. I used to go to a Catholic grade school, I received all the Sacraments. I even remember serving as an alter boy at Mass and as the priest would elevate the Eucharist I KNEW that this was truly JESUS and that He wanted to LIVE IN ME. But as I grew up, I started to seek other things in this world and made them more important than Him in my life. Once I started to skip one Sunday Mass... it was such an easy step after that to stop going to Confession, to start missing every Mass... and eventually to let go of God completely in my life. When you start letting go of God... there is a real darkness and emptiness that starts coming in and until we let go of the darknesss in Confession and invite Him back in... that emptiness will only continue to grow until eventually it destroys you completely. That was where I was headed without God and wanted it to stop.

So, I ran to the Confessional (I didn't want to postpone it and die in that state of darkness) and let it all go. I made a comitment to God that I would NEVER miss a Sunday Mass ever again. I don't want to miss Heaven and my life with God anymore. Eventually I wanted more and more of God. Once you accept the INVITATION, He invades your soul and makes His HOME with you and you want more and more and more.... So I started to go even to daily Mass, started praying the Rosary, I got all the things in my room and my life that were opposed to my life in God and I put them in a barrel and burnt them all. All the "girly posters" that I used to be fond of, all the music that was disturbing peace in my soul, all the music with lyrics that were opposed to my life with God, all the books that brought darkness into my life... I destroyed it all. I had a new life within me and I also knew that my former way of life had to die completely too.

After I had my conversion, I had this realization that I AM A CHILD OF GOD. Either I am a Child of God or I am not... I can no longer live a lie. If I am a Child of God, then I need to start living like it. I also realized that if I am God's Child than I also need to start coming to know Him in a real with and have a REAL relationship with Him. It is no longer good enough to pray thinking God being so far away and just waving to Him from a distance.... I need to pray in order to come to know Him in a real way and allow Him to come to know me as His Child. I also came to understand that what kind of Father who really loves His child doesn't want to speak with them? If God does love me, I need to be open to allowing Him to speak with me. So, I began entering into prayer as a Child waiting to LISTEN. I continued to wait and wait and wait... God desires me to approach Him with FAITH and to BELIEVE that He truly desires to speak to me... so He patiently waits for my Faith to grow so that He can respond. And HE DID.

This INVITATION isn't just for me... it is there for you. God always gives you His grace... He doesn't stop. But it is up to each one of us to RESPOND. We can ignore it or deny it... but it is always there waiting for YOU. God waits for your response.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why is there a HELL???


I will explain my views on Hell from my own experience with God and from my Catholic upbringing. The answer lies off of belief in God. If you don't believe in God, Hell will probabaly never make sense, but then again, neither will life that is really messed up. For example, just a few days ago I was sent to the hospital for a little tiny 3 month old baby that was in critical condition. When I got to the Emergency Room they were doing shock treatment to try to get it's little heart beating again. The little baby had severe bruising on its head, both ears and arm. I was wondering how could such a little one have suffered so much. The baby's mother was crying hysterically... the father was no where to be found. After they called the time of death... then steps in the father who looks very coldly to his own dead baby from a distance, and then simply walks out with no emotion. It was one of the few times in my life where I literally fealt "complete darkness" within another person. It then hit me like a ton of bricks of what had happened and I was hoping that this was just my own imagination at work. I came to find out that the father had indeed crushed his own little baby's skull. How can there be a Hell? I think the answer lies in how can something like this take place on earth where a little baby is supposed to be loved and protected by its own father.

As a Christian who is Catholic, I don't believe we were created to live "Hell" on earth either. I see so many lives ruined by suicide, alcoholism, drugs, sex that is supposed to be love between two people turned into something violent and grotesque... and worse. Why the rapes, the abortions, the murder, the hatred of self and others, the vulgarity and hatred in words and actions, beating the hell out of others, and on and on and on. This is the beginning of Hell on earth and I don't think those who choose this as a way of life will see a good place unless they desire to change.

God did not create us for death, darkness, and a hell bent desire for destruction. But when we take Him out of the picture and out of our lives, what are we left with but misery? God sent His only Son to suffer and die to take this darkness out of our lives and to give us life... the option is there for the taking for those who want it which means there is another option for those who don't.

God never sends anyone to Hell and does not condemn anyone. We condemn ourselves but shutting Him out of our lives. If we shut the light out... we are left with darkness. If we are sick and choose not to go to the Physician, how can we ever expect to be healed?

I was thinking about my own life and where I was headed with my drinking problem and disordered desire for sex without ever thinking about the dignity and respect of the other person I was with... it left an emptiness in me and it grew the more I did it. After my car accident I realized I was going to a very bad and dark place forever if I had died without changing my life. I was literally headed for destruction. God spoke to my heart and I asked Him why...why would I be going to Hell if He loved me? He answered with this... "I am not sending you... you are cutting me out of your life and I am the source of life. When you cut yourself off from the very source of your life and happiness, what do you expect to be left with? I sent My own Son to suffer and die for you but you don't want Him in your life... you are chosing death... I chose you for life."

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."