Spring of Purging

I think I’m going to make this spring the great “Spring of Purging.” I’m going to get rid of a lot of stuff that I’ve accumulated over the years… old electronics that are just hanging around, the last vestiges of non-digital/streaming (as in bills, magazines, DVDs, etc – although I will still write in my paper journal and probably buy my regular “summer books” in paper – though maybe not), memorabilia that I haven’t looked at in many years, furniture (sorry Mom, the chair), etc. Out with the old, as they say…  Of course, the exceptions are people.

The Gift of Mercy

The Scriptural gift of Mercy is the capacity to feel and express unusual compassion and sympathy for those in difficult or crisis situations and provide them with the necessary help and support to see them through tough times. The merciful feel the emotional atmosphere around an individual or group, being sensitive to feelings and needs of others because the Holy Spirit is at work in the person. A key characteristic of the merciful is an ability to sense joy or distress in others. The merciful are drawn to those who are in mental or emotional distress. Christians with the gift of mercy are drawn to people experiencing emotional distress, and often make friends with those in need. The merciful seek to remove pain rather than find its benefits. Even when someone suffers as a result of his own disobedience, the gift of mercy concerns itself with soothing the person’s pain.  Though not insensitive to the physical needs of people, the merciful are primarily concerned with the spiritual and emotional condition of an individual.  (Source)

Assult / Beauty

From “Yearning: Authentic Transformation, Young Adults, and the Church”, by The Rev. Robert Hendrickson, pp 67-68:

“In the day-to-day lives of many young adults, they will be assaulted by images of at best banality and at worst outright cruelty. Advertising works on the premise that they are never enough, television creates a spectacle of emotional manipulation and invites them to cascade between feeling less than or superior to – megastores and strip malls take nature and bend it to serve only a bland commerce bent toward creating competitive identity that obscures our actual identity and blurs the particularities of the neighborhoods we live in and serve.

Somewhere along that walk from the font to the alter, in the life of virtue, the encroaching of cultural norms, values, and expectations derail us.  The journey that we begin by being baptized into the life of Christ quickly gets sidetracked as we take paths that seem to shine a little more brightly.  Then we find ourselves lost and without bearings – unable to see our true selves or true home through the ceaseless press and clamor.

The hollowness of the world cannot be filled with more of the world, but with more of that grace which flows of the sacraments and makes men and women more holy and more devout.  Those struggling to find God amidst and despite the banality of much of contemporary culture will not find an answer in a Church that simply seeks to replicate that banality in our buildings, liturgies, prayers, or work in the world.

This is where beauty comes in.  Beauty has the power to pull us up short – to force us to behold again. To behold all that God is doing around, in, and in spit of us. It demands of us a renewed seriousness as we stand in the middle of that which makes us know that there is more.”