God has become a stranger to us. Nobody follows a stranger .

The Cross of Christ has been emptied of its meaning .

My people are ruined for lack of knowledge .

Fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the seas .

 

What is the Best Way to Acquire Knowledge of God?

What is the best way to acquire knowledge of God? Read and study his autobiography.

The Autobiography of God         

Have you read the autobiography of God? If you haven't, you should. God poured more and better theology into his autobiography than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live. God's autobiography established the constitutional framework within which the Church is meant to operate. Everything his Church says or does is to be tested against his autobiography.  In his autobiography, God bypassed his Church to speak directly to the multitude.  Therefore, listen first to what the Son of God said about himself before you listen to what others have said about him. Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth.  

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting representations of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of representations creates confusion.  “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite representation of God.  Others point to a different representation and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. Thus, they sent the Son of God from heaven to publish here on earth the autobiography of God.  In the autobiography, we are given a fair and accurate representation of God - an authentic, first-class, high fidelity representation of God whose fidelity to God is unmatched by the low fidelity representations made by human hands. In fact, God banned us from making representations of him (Exodus 20:4-6) due to their lack of fidelity. Better no representation than an inaccurate representation.  All lesser representations of God, therefore, must yield to the representation God gave us in his autobiography. 

He did not write his autobiography in fickle words susceptible to manipulation, misinterpretation and misunderstanding. He did his autobiography in unambiguous deeds. The meaning of deeds is clearer than the meaning of words. Furthermore, God took flesh in order to speak to us in the only universal language that survived the confounding of language that took place at Babel (Genesis 11: 1-9), the language of suffering. The language of suffering is our native tongue. All of the children of Adam and Eve understand it. The language of suffering is a simple language. Its communicative ability arises from its power to distinguish the real from the counterfeit. What survives suffering is real. What doesn't survive is counterfeit.

His autobiography consists of three chapters:

  1. The Crucifixion,
  2. The Resurrection, and
  3. the thread that weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. The thread is the relationship of test and result.

In the middle of his autobiography stands the Cross. His Cross is the flag that the most Holy Trinity raised to rally Christians to the Son of God. [Rally 'round the Cross!The Cross, however, is not well understood in Christianity. The Cross holds three gallons of information. Many who contemplate the Cross, however, have only one gallon tanks. A one gallon tank cannot handle three gallons of information. Therefore, to understand the Cross, it is first necessary to expand your capacity threefold - thrice like the Trinity. The Cross has two sides: 1) a near side and 2) a far side. Different stories unfolded on each side of the Cross. The near side of the Cross is best understood, the far side of the Cross less understood and the connection between the two sides of the Cross is not well understood at all. On the near side of the Cross was the Crucifixion. On the far side of the Cross was the Resurrection.  The Crucifixion was the test. In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published for us. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us, indeed. 

When we look upon the Crucifixion that unfolded on the near side of the Cross, we see his ignominious defeat. Into a wicked baptism we immersed him (Matthew 3:13-17)! What vile hospitality did we show our God! We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. After we tortured him, we stuffed him into the black hole of death. Nobody and nothing escape from the black hole of death. What worse evil could we have done to the Son of God than torture and kill him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth? What is the reasonable expectation from our vile treatment of him? Surely, his love for us would fade as we tortured him and die when we killed him (Isaiah 55:8-9) (1 Corinthians 3:19). Furthermore, unlike the mighty God of the Old Testament who freed his people from the Egyptians, this puny God of the New Testament failed to free his people from the Romans. The Romans defeated him by impaling him on a cross like a worm on a hook. His bloody wounds are the badges of his failure - memorials to his defeat. In short, the story was over. Jesus failed.

Or did he?

The most Holy Trinity did not intend that we only look at his bloody wounds and behold the failure of the Son of God. The most Holy Trinity also want us to look through them. When we opened bloody wounds in the body of Christ, we built a telescope. When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. Only when we look through his bloody wounds to the Resurrection on their far side, do we see his glorious victory. His bloody wounds are the rainbow of the new covenant - memorials to his victory not to his defeat. His bloody wounds are the narrow gate through which we squeeze our contemplation of God to acquire knowledge about him. Enter an understanding of God through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14) of his bloody wounds.

The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands did not put himself into the hands of the mud to free us from either the Egyptians or the Romans. He had a bigger fish to fry. He came to free us from a tyrant far worse than the Egyptians or the Romans. We are born in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). The vicious tyrant from whom Jesus came to free us has the power to destroy any resemblance that we bear to God. He can transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. The valley of tears is hostile territory. As we pass through it, monsters of suffering attack us. They try to crush us under their oppressive weight. When this happens, the tyrant who lives within us instructs us to release our grip on love - to let love slip through our fingers - to fumble the ball. This is bad advice. The tyrant's instruction is contrary to our self-interest. It hurts rather than helps us. Jesus wants us to deny ourselves. He wants us to say 'No' to the tyrant within us. He wants us to cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. He wants us to maintain the resemblance we bear to God.

As we pass through the valley of tears, our sighs, mourning and weeping  left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart (Salve Regina). The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God to us on a two-fold mission:

  1. to transport from heaven to earth a solution that mitigates our suffering and
  2. to demonstrate that the solution works by using it himself.

The most Holy Trinity hoped that a successful demonstration by the Son of God himself would inspire us to follow him, adopt the solution and use it ourselves as we pass through the valley of tears. The solution teaches us to apply love to suffering. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Without love, our crosses bog us down impeding our progress to paradise. Love transforms us into superman with the ability to pick up (Matthew 16:24) and carry our crosses so we can continue our journey back home to paradise. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed overboard into a stormy sea after his ship is sunk. He did not surrender to suffering. He resisted it. He resisted suffering by clinging to love.  By hanging from the Cross, Jesus is not inviting us to unite our suffering with his suffering. Jesus is not a sadist. He does not want us to suffer. He is not diabolical like the serpent. The diabolical serpent wants us to suffer - not Jesus. Jesus is a philanthropist. Jesus is inviting us to unite our love with his love. Therefore, cling as Jesus clung. Fight the tyrant within us who is trying to empty our hearts of love. Love is the solution that mitigates the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. Love kicks sufferings ass. 

A byproduct of the process of bringing this relief to suffering humanity was the publication of a fair and accurate representation of God. He showed us who he was so we would know who we could become. Love deifies us. Love turns us into God. We, too, can become the God with the bloody wounds by loving despite our wounds. He planted a garden of roses amongst the thorns that grow in the valley of tears who love despite their wounds to pull paradise down from heaven upon our heads here on earth as a fireman with a hook pulls down a ceiling. 

When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we see the Resurrection on their far side. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. Both he and his love for us survived the evil we did to him. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges alive from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love.

In fact, Divinity is head over heels in love with us.

We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the cost he paid out of his own pocket to produce the Crucifixion. He paid the cost not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the cost from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else!

We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him (Isaiah 55:8-9). But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever.

Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in his body. But not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us.

The evil we did to him did not budge the dial that controls his love for us. The dial is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Given that the evil we did to him did not budge the dial by even the slightest degree, it is safe to say that there is nothing we can do to turn it. His love for us is intransigent. It is a stubborn, mule-headed, crazy love.

In summary:

At Bethlehem, our God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands delivered a love note to us by putting himself into the hands of the mud. (What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note). At Calvary, the love note was tested to determine whether it was genuine or counterfeit.  In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published for us. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us, indeed. In the Resurrection, we learn that the love note is genuine. Do you appreciate the reality that the God who fashioned you out of the mud with his hands, personally hand delivered a love note to you and proved to you that the love note was genuine? Wow! 

Infinite and perfect power and infinite and perfect love for us knitted together is our God. His power built paradise. His love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. Our rationality, when fueled by the truth, steers us in the right direction. The truth sets us free. 

The love note is the rock upon which we build our faith. It is time to rediscover the rock and build our faith upon it. 

The love note is the foundation of Christianity.

The passage of the love note through the valley of tears from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum.

Our God is the God with the bloody wounds. We can identify an impostor because an impostor is without them ( Matthew 24:11 ). The bloody wounds tells us that our God is the union of omnipotence and love for us. When love for us and omnipotence are knitted together into our God, do we have any reason to worry? It is much better to have the God with the bloody wounds as our God than a rich uncle, right? "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)

Do you want to know God? Read his autobiography. You cannot say that you know God until you read and understand his autobiography. 

 

Rock beats scissors; scissors beats paper; paper beats rock. And love beats suffering.

 

The Conversation about God is Dead

God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church know this. The Church does not. As a result, the escape of the new exodus led by the new Moses, the Church, through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise is sputtering and stalling. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. None are going to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct ["We are facing a “haemorrhage” that weakens consecrated life and the very life of the Church."] . The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead have no choice.

The Patient is Dying

The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is dying. 

CompStat

The New York City Police Department runs a program of self-criticism called CompStat by which it uses crime statistics to evaluate the job performance of its bosses. Given the deplorable Catholic statistics, if such a program were applied to the bosses of the Catholic Church, how many heads would roll? Shall we wait until the number for Mass attendance falls into the single digits before the bosses of the Catholic Church are fired for incompetency?

The Old Generals

The old generals are fighting the last war with yesterday's strategy and tactics. Thus, they are losing the current war. They are shooting themselves in the foot, yet, they expect us to pay for the bullets. Do we help in their self-destruction? Or do we clamor for their reform?

Reality

Reality does not exist in a single layer. Reality has depth. Its depth comes from the existence of multiple layers - a stack of layers. Furthermore, different stories are unfolding on different layers of reality. Sometimes multiple layers of reality are connected; sometimes they are not. The ability to see the connection between layers of reality is a valuable gift. In this website, we will avoid the layer of reality that deals with sin. The Church has this layer covered. Instead we will focus on the layer of reality that deals with suffering. This layer of reality is underserved.

The Star of the Show

The Church is the usher who shows us to our seats. God is the star of the show. Everything goes to shit when the Church thinks that it is the star of the show.

It is not about the Church. It is about God.

The bosses of the Church needs to learn a lesson from our amusement parks. The nitty gritty of their operation takes place in the background away from the eyes of their customers. When the nitty gritty breaks into the foreground, the experience is ruined. The Church is functioning well when God is in the foreground and the Church is in the background. When the Church, however, jumps into the foreground and elbows God into the background, all hell breaks loose.

Excerpt from 1906 encyclical of Pope Pius X titled “Vehementer Nos“

“The Scripture teaches us, and the tradition of the Fathers confirms the teaching, that the Church is the mystical body of Christ, ruled by the Pastors and Doctors — a society of men containing within its own fold chiefs who have full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging. It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.

The Mindset of the Church has Stymied a Culture of Dialogue and Discussion

The Church has failed to develop a culture of dialogue and discussion. Why? The mindset of the Church is that information flows downstream from God to the Church and, thence, to the multitude. Therefore, monologue is its preferred form of discourse not dialogue. Think of the sermon or homily. Information flows only one way. The Church doesn't take feedback from the multitude . The Church's disdain of feedback from the multitude is unfortunate because feedback is a proven error correction device and some of the best ideas come from the bottom-up instead of the top - down. The multitude can now read, write and think for themselves. Many are the sources of information available to the multitude. Now, the merit and demerit of an idea must stand on its own two feet. That the Church supports an idea is no longer enough. The multitude rejects the Church's claim of a hotline between it and God and looks upon claims of governmental legitimacy by virtue of the "divine right of kings" as an anachronism meant to frighten the multitude into submission. To succeed in the modern world of a literate and skeptical multitude, the Church must learn to do what it has disdained to do, that is, compete in the marketplace of ideas. Its ideas are being challenged - their legitimacy cast into doubt. The question yet unanswered is, without a culture of dialogue and discussion, can the Church successfully compete in the marketplace of ideas?

Ideological Proskynesis is Dead

The Church has tried to jam its rules, regulations, rigmarole and red tape down our throats by dint of its claimed omnipotence. This is a medieval not a modern tactic and it arises from a time when authority and hierarchy were rigid and everybody knew their place. Before we learned to read, write and think for ourselves, we docilely swallowed whatever they jammed down our throats. Times have changed. In modernity, we have learned to read, write and think for ourselves. Now, the Church's tactic triggers our gag reflex. We regurgitate it. The command - obedience paradigm no longer works (Note: It hasn't work since Adam and Eve). A new approach, therefore, is needed. The appeal must be to our rationality. We must be persuaded. This dismays the medievalists. It discombobulates them. It makes them apoplectic. The modernists, however, are up for the challenge. In fact, they think an appeal to our rationality is the best way to go. They believe that, when fueled by the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.

The King Who Loves Us

Jesus is our king. His palace is the Mass. His throne is the most Holy Eucharist. His kingdom is at hand. He is not the typical king and his kingdom is not the typical kingdom. He broke the mold for kingship. He is not the king who rules us. He is the king who loves us. In place of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole, the means by which he governs us is love. In the kingdom of the king who loves us, the citizens govern themselves. We desire to please him. We trip all over ourselves in our eagerness to please him . Wow! Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of the King who loves sinners like me ?

Figuring It Out for Ourselves

We must figure it out for ourselves. Nobody can figure it out for us. The lesson of Adam and Eve is that our faculty of obedience is broken. But do not despair. God installed a backup system within us. It is our faculty of rationality. Fueled by the truth, our faculty of rationality steers us in the right direction. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. The truth sets us free. Therefore, to help us figure it out for ourselves, pick up the sledgehammer of truth and wield it against the illusions that hide the truth from us to shatter them as the blow of a hammer shatters glass.

Is The Good News of Great Joy In Your Pocket?

Good news of great joy was deposited with the Church for it to freely distribute to the children of Adam and Eve. But, can you even articulate it? Can you put the good news of great joy into words? Is it in your pocket so you can pull it out and distribute it to us? Or is your pocket empty? What is in your pocket? When a beggar who hungers and thirsts for God accosts you, what do you pull out of your pocket to give him? Do you have the words?

The Solution to the Problem of Suffering

The Son of God transported from heaven to earth good news of great joy for sufferers. It is incredibly good news for sufferers. It is an understatement to say that our passage through the valley of tears is not easy. As we pass through it, crosses of suffering torment us. The good news of great joy, however, is not that God plans to extricate us immediately from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. God still expects us to run the course, finish the race and complete a lifetime in the valley of tears . The good news of great joy is not that God plans to transform the valley of tears into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God plans to transform godless people not the valley of tears in which we live. Our sighs, mourning and weeping left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. As a result of a broken heart, the most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God on a mission to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. The mission of the Son of God to us was two-fold: 1) to transport from heaven to earth a solution to the problem of suffering and 2) to demonstrate that the solution works by using it himself. In the process of demonstrating the solution to the problem of suffering, Jesus revealed to us the true identity of God. The solution teaches us not to surrender to suffering but to resist suffering with love. The Son of God hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The successful demonstration of love surviving suffering suggests that we, too, can step up to the challenges that confront us as we pass through the valley of tears. Love and only love enables us to step up and become heroes who can pick up and carry our crosses. Jesus is teaching us by hanging from the Cross that we win when we love our way through suffering. We lose when suffering empties our hearts of love. Parents, teach your children to be winners. Teach them to fill the space they occupy with love.

War

We are at war. The valley of tears is a battlefield. As we pass through it, war engulfs us. The war is between suffering and love. All of us are combatants. There is no sanctuary into which we can duck to hide from it. God made us in his image and likeness. The greater the love that we bear in our hearts, the greater the resemblance that we bear to God. Monsters of suffering stalk us as we pass through the valley of tears. The goal of the monsters is to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. They try to destroy the resemblance we bear to God. Their sole purpose is to empty our hearts of love. The war is won when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. The war is lost when we let love slip through our fingers - when we fumble the ball. God does not extricate us from the valley of tears as quickly as we would like because God is giving us the opportunity to become heroes - heroes in ordinary, everyday circumstances who achieve the extraordinary by loving their way through suffering. God is looking for heroes of love so become a hero by loving your way through suffering. Fill the space you occupy with love. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love pulls paradise down from heaven upon our heads here on earth as a fireman with a hook pulls down a ceiling. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. The currency of love is different than ordinary currency. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we grow. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get . God wants us to grow rich in love. Jesus transported from heaven to earth the technology of applying love to suffering. He delivered it to us at Bethlehem. At Calvary, he used the technology himself to demonstrate for us that the technology works. The technology is battlefield tested. The hope is that a successful demonstration of the technology by the Son of God himself will inspire us to adopt the technology and use it as we pass through the valley of tears. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. Follow him. Cling as he clung. Love as he loved.

The Choice of Companions to Accompany Us on our Journey Through the Valley of Tears

Who do you want with you during your passage through the valley of tears? Who do you want as your companions? Who do you want by your side? Love is our dearest companion as we pass through the valley of tears. As we pass through the valley of tears, we cannot escape the war between suffering and love. All of us our combatants. There is no sanctuary into which we can duck to hide from it. Suffering tries to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. We try to maintain the resemblance that we bear to God. We lose the war when we let suffering empty our hearts of love. We win the war when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Therefore, when you find yourself in the middle of suffering, surround yourself with people who do love and receive love. You yourself partake in the doing and receiving of love. Fill the space you occupy with love. Why? By doing love and by receiving love, we pull paradise down from heaven upon our heads here on earth as a fireman with a hook pulls down a ceiling. Love is the signal that summons God into our midst. What blood in the water is to sharks, love is to God. God makes a rapid beeline to love. God runs surely and swiftly to promote, to protect and to propagate love on earth as it is in heaven. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. The currency of love is different than ordinary currency. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we grow. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get . Furthermore, love is twice blest . "It blesseth him that gives and him that takes." Both the recipient and the donor enjoy the blessings of love. Jesus did not teach us to love our enemies just to benefit them. Jesus taught us to love our enemies because doing so benefits ourselves. Love is its own reward . We love because loving is the rational thing to do. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. In love we thrive. Without love we wither. Our success in life is measured by the yardstick of love.

Immediate Extrication from our Dire Predicament in the Valley of Tears is not the Goal of God's Plan to Rescue Us

The good news of great joy is not that God plans to extricate us immediately from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. God still expects us to run the course, finish the race and complete a lifetime in the valley of tears .

Transforming the Valley of Tears into a Better, More Hospitable Place for Godless People to Live is not the Goal of God's Plan to Rescue Us

The good news of great joy is not that God plans to transform the valley of tears into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God plans to transform godless people not the valley of tears in which we live.

Maintaining the Resemblance We Bear To God

The greater the love we bear in our hearts, the greater the resemblance we bear to God . Maintaining our resemblance to God as we pass through adversity and prosperity is the challenge of life. The circumstances through which we pass do not matter a whit. The only thing that matters is maintaining our resemblance to God. We succeed in life when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. We fail, when we let love slip through our fingers - when we fumble the ball. Parents, teach your children to love .

The Brevity of Life Proves the Mercy of God

A lifetime is an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. With love in our hearts, a life amongst the thorns in the valley of tears is but a trivial and temporary inconvenience.

The Delay

God delivered the gift of life and the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve simultaneously. Hence, Adam and Eve had no personal experience with the valley of tears. The valley of tears was virgin, unexplored territory to them. The serpent made allegations to Adam and Eve about the valley of tears (Genesis 3:5). God made allegations to them about it as well (Genesis 3:3). The allegations were in conflict. One set of allegations about the valley of tears was a lie and the other set was the truth. There was a conflict between the word of God and the word of the serpent. Newly minted humanity was thus thrust into the middle of a controversy not of their own making without any historical precedent to guide them to a resolution. Their situation was sui generis. The question that arose from the controversy was how to resolve it. Adam and Eve decided to figure it out for themselves. How else would the controvery be resolved? The only way to drain the lie of its power to deceive them was to figure out the truth for themselves. Thus, they would pay a visit to the valley of tears to learn the truth about it for themselves. As they passed through the valley of tear they discovered for themselves that it sucks. God was right. The serpent was a liar. The controversy was resolved. Therefore, for the children of Adam and Eve, God tweaked the timetable for the delivery of his gifts. God inserted a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. As Adam and Eve did, the children of Adam and Eve would taste the sourness of the valley of tears for themselves. Tasting the sourness of the valley of tears for ourselves makes it impossible for any lie about it to deceive us. Personal experience with the truth vaccinates us against the lie. The delay is harsh but effective medicine. But it teaches us that God tells us the truth and the serpent lies. Moreover, when the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. Note: We are placed into the valley of tears to figure out for ourselves what allegations about it are the truth and what allegations about it are the lie. Our rationality, when fueled by the truth, steers us in the right direction. Our rationality, when fueled by the lie, steers us in the wrong direction. Our existence is all about getting the right fuel for our rationality.

Evacuating the Valley of Tears

Godlessness is a sinking ship. God, however, does not want to save the ship. God wants to save the passengers. Abandon Ship!" "Abandon Ship!" is the cry of our God. "To the lifeboats!" "To the lifeboats!" his Church proclaims. Do you feel the exigency of our dire predicament? Do you feel the ship of godlessness sinking beneath your feet? Our salvation requires that we abandon ship and get into the life boats. God provided a fleet of life boats to evacuate us from godlessness, ferry us through the valley of tears, and return us to our home with God and his holy family in paradise. God occupies the life boats. The life boats are the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise.  In the life boats, close encounters with the living God take place. There we include God in our lives and God includes us in his. During a close encounter, God transforms us. We cannot transform ourselves. The Church cannot transform us. Only God can. Transformation takes place in the lifeboats. Examples of the lifeboats are the Mass, Confession, the other sacraments, works of charity, acts of kindness, prayer especially the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, fasting, the gathering of two or more together in God's name, bible study, suffering (if we apply love to it), the hour of death, etc.

The Son of God Paid us a Visit in the Guise of a Gardiner to Cultivate Roses Amongst the Thorns in the Valley of Tears

The Son of God paid us a visit in the guise of a gardener . The purpose of his visit was to cultivate a rose garden amongst the thorns that grow in the valley of tears. Heaven's most perfect rose - the epitome of the flower of love - came amongst us to reveal to us the secret of becoming roses ourselves. He did not just tell us the secret. He communicated the secret to us by demonstrating the secret himself. It was hoped that a successful demonstration by none other than the Son of God himself would inspire us to follow him and use the secret ourselves as we passed through the thorns of the valley of tears. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is also perfect and infinite love. The Son of God is a rose not by virtue of his power but by virtue of his love. In fact, he is head over heels in love with us. We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us from the magnitude of the evil that we did to him. The revelation of his love for us was not free. It came at a price - a most extravagant price. Jesus paid the price not from his unlimited divine resources but from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else. We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. Follow him. Cling as Jesus clung. Hold tight to love and refuse to let go. Jesus showed us that thorns become roses when they fill their hearts with love. Love transforms us into roses. The absence of love makes us thorns. Are you a rose or a thorn?

What is in your Pocket to give to Beggars who Hunger and Thirst for God when they accost you?

Is your pocket empty? Or does it hold something for the beggars who hunger and thirst for God when they accost you? Do you keep the good news of great joy in your pocket for them? Or, like Marie-Antoinette, will you give them cake when they want bread? Why don't you give them the same gift that God gave to you? But beware! The good news of great joy is not the official rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole of the Church. Don't keep that in your pocket for them. Give them the key that opens the door to paradise. Love is the key that opens the door to paradise . Give them this key. Tell them that God gave it to you so it is only fair that you share it with them. Tell them that God's love for them is perfect and infinite. As his power is perfect and infinite, his love for them is perfect and infinite as well. When they ask how do you know, tell them that God himself told you. The source of your knowledge is God himself. Tell them that this knowledge comes straight from the horse's mouth. Tell them that God published an autobiography and that you have read it and understand it. Tell them that they can read it too. Tell them that his autobiography was not written in fickle words that can be manipulated, misinterpreted and misunderstood. The autobiography of God was done in unambigous deeds. Tell them it consists of three chapters: 1) the Crucifixion, 2) the Resurrection and 3) the thread that weaves its way through Jesus's bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and Resurrection together. The thread is the relationship of test and result. The Crucifixion was the test. In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us indeed. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The expectation was that his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. However, Jesus defied expectation . He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He continued to love us nonetheless. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into a stormy sea after his ship is sunk. He did not tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together with the relationship of test and result merely to publish a fair and accurate representation of God. This is just one of the reasons. He killed multiple birds with one stone. Also, he hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. He demonstrated that the technology of applying love to suffering works. He hoped to inspire us to adopt and use the technology ourselves as we pass through the valley of tears. By loving our way through suffering, we mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Therefore, follow him. Cling as Jesus clung. Hold tight to love and refuse to let go. Tell them that Jesus is the love note sent from God to us. Tell them the love note is the rock upon which we build our faith. Tell them the love note is the foundation of Christianity. Tell them that the passage of the love note through the valley of tears from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the crux of Christianity. Tell them everything else is obiter dictum.

 

Turning Wealth into Poverty

When Adam and Eve exited paradise and took us with them into the valley of tears, wealth was turned into poverty. God is our wealth. The absence of God is poverty. We are given a lifetime in order to grow rich.

The Generosity of God

God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as he delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than he was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them.

Fumbling the Ball

Eve fumbled the ball. So did Adam. So did Lucifer. So did the gaggle of angels who followed Lucifer. They had paradise in hand but let it slip through their fingers. The problem that God desired to solve is not us getting paradise. The problem is us keeping paradise. When God delivers the gift of paradise to us, he wants us to keep it without having to turn paradise into a prison, us into prisoners and himself into our warden. A cage is a cage no matter how gilded. God wants us to choose paradise of our own free will.

The Story of Adam and Eve

The story of Adam and Eve is not a story of how they got paradise. It is story of how they lost it.

The Prodigal Son

Having experienced the pig sty for himself, the prodigal son will never go back there. Neither will we. We know better.

 

The Bait

Jesus impaled on the Cross like a worm on a hook is the bait. The bait is cast into the valley of tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve. The fish take this bait hook, line and sinker. Other bait, not so much.

Pulling Paradise from Heaven Down Upon our Heads Here on Earth

"What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God" . Knowledge of his perfect and infinite love for us pulls paradise down from heaven upon our heads here on earth as a fireman with a hook pulls down the ceiling of a burning building. Therefore, rest your head on the pillow of his bloody wounds . His bloody wounds were a great torment to him so they could be a soft pillow for us . On the pillow of his bloody wounds, we rest our thinking about our God. Study his bloody wounds. His bloody wounds are the narrow gate through which we squeeze to acquire knowledge about our God. His bloody wounds are the rock and the root of our contemplation about our God. They are the source through which the knowledge of God springs. His bloody wounds are the only stable foundation on which we can confidently base our thinking about our God. Contemplate the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, the Resurrection on the far side of his bloody wounds and the thread that weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. The thread is the relationship of test and result. Our God is the God with the bloody wounds. You can tell an impostor because an impostor is without them. By contemplating his bloody wounds, you can figure out the true identity of God for yourself. Our God reveals himself to us through his bloody wounds. His bloody wounds are the mouth of God. Through them, God speaks to us and tells us who he is. Listen to him. Listen first to what the Son of God said about himself before you listen to what others have said about him. Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth.

Get the Truth Straight from the Horse's Mouth

"For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning" . Do you understand the meaning of the Cross of Christ? The Cross of Christ has two sides. On the near side of the Cross of Christ is the Crucifixion. On the far side, is the Resurrection. Moreover, a thread weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. The thread that ties them together is the relationship of test and result. The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the thread that ties them together are the three chapters of the autobiography of God. His autobiography was not written in fickle words susceptible to manipulation and misinterpretation. His autobiography was done in unambiguous deeds. In his autobiography, the Son of God published a fair and accurate representation of God - an authentic, first-class, high fidelity representation of God. Its fidelity to God is unmatched by the low fidelity representations made by human hands. In fact, God banned us from making representations of him (Exodus 20:4-6) due to their lack of fidelity. Better no representation than an inaccurate representation.  All lesser representations of God, therefore, must yield to the representation God gave us in his autobiography. God poured more and better theology into his autobiography than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live. Listen first to what the Son of God said about himself before you listen to what others have said about him. Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth. You do not know God until you read and understand his autobiography. Do you desire to know God? Then read his autobiography.

Have You Read The Autobiography of the Son of God?         

Have you read the autobiography of the Son of God? If you haven't, you should. Listen first to what the Son of God said about himself before you listen to what others have said about him. Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth. God poured more and better theology into his autobiography than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live. 

 Many false, inaccurate and conflicting representations of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of representations creates confusion.  “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite representation of God.  Others point to a different representation and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. Thus, they sent the Son of God from heaven to publish on earth the autobiography of God. The autobiography is God's representation of God.  It is an authentic, first-class, high fidelity representation of God. Its fidelity to God is unmatched by the low fidelity representations made by human hands. In fact, God banned us from making representations of him (Exodus 20:4-6) due to their lack of fidelity. Better no representation than an inaccurate representation.  All lesser representations of God, therefore, must yield to the representation God gave us in his autobiography. 

He did not write his autobiography in fickle words susceptible to manipulation and misinterpretation. He did his autobiography in unambiguous deeds.

His autobiography consists of three chapters:

  1. The Crucifixion,
  2. The Resurrection, and
  3. the thread that weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. The thread is the relationship of test and result.

The autobiography revealed the true identity of God.

When we look at the Crucifixion on the near side of the Cross, we see his ignominious defeat. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Unlike the mighty God of the Old Testament who freed his people from the Egyptians, this puny God of the New Testament failed to free his people from the Romans. The Romans defeated him by impaling him on a cross like a worm on a hook. His bloody wounds are the badges of his failure - memorials to his defeat. In short, Jesus failed.

Or did he?

The most Holy Trinity did not intend that we only look at his bloody wounds and behold the Son of God's failure. The most Holy Trinity also want us to look through them. When we opened bloody wounds in the body of Christ, we built a telescope that pierces the veil between heaven and earth. When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. Only when we look through his bloody wounds to the Resurrection on their far side, do we see his glorious victory. His bloody wounds are the rainbow of the new covenant - memorials to his victory.

The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands did not put himself into the hands of the mud to free us from either the Egyptians or the Romans. He had a bigger fish to fry. He came to free us from a tyrant far worse than the Egyptians or the Romans. We are born in the image and likeness of God. The tyrant from whom Jesus came to free us has the power to destroy any resemblance that we bear to God. He can transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. The valley of tears is hostile territory. As we pass through it, monsters of suffering attack us. They try to crush us under their oppressive weight. When this happens, the tyrant who lives within us instructs us to release our grip on love - to let love slip through our fingers. This is bad advice. The tyrant's instruction is contrary to our self-interest. It hurts rather than helps us. Jesus wants us to deny ourselves. He wants us to say 'No' to the tyrant within us.

As we pass through the valley of tears, our sighs, mourning and weeping  left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart (Salve Regina). The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God to us on a two-fold mission:

  1. to transport from heaven to earth a solution that mitigates our suffering and
  2. to demonstrate that the solution works by using it himself.

The most Holy Trinity hoped that a successful demonstration by the Son of God himself would inspire us to follow him, adopt the solution and use it ourselves as we pass through the valley of tears. The solution teaches us to apply love to suffering. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Without love, our crosses bog us down impeding our progress to paradise. Love transforms us into superman with the ability to pick up and carry our crosses so we can continue our journey back home to paradise. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed overboard into a stormy sea after his ship is sunk. He did not surrender to suffering. He resisted it. He resisted suffering by clinging to love.  By hanging from the Cross, Jesus is not inviting us to unite our suffering with his suffering. Jesus is not a sadist. He does not want us to suffer. He is not diabolical like the serpent. The diabolical serpent wants us to suffer - not Jesus. Jesus is a philanthropist. Jesus is inviting us to unite our love with his love. Therefore, cling as Jesus clung. Fight the tyrant within us who is trying to empty our hearts of love. Love kicks sufferings ass.

When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we see the Resurrection on their far side. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. Both he and his love for us survived the evil we did to him. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges alive from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love.

In fact, Divinity is head over heels in love with us.

We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the cost he paid out of his own pocket to produce the Crucifixion. He paid the cost not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the cost from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else!

We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever.

The evil we did to him did not budge the dial that controls his love for us. It is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Given that the evil we did to him did not budge the dial by even the slightest degree, it is safe to say that there is nothing we can do to turn it. His love for us is intransigent. It is a stubborn, mule-headed, crazy love.

In summary:

At Bethlehem, our God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands delivered a love note to us by putting himself into the hands of the mud. (What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note). At Calvary, the love note was tested to determine whether it was genuine or counterfeit.  In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published for us. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us, indeed. In the Resurrection, we learn that the love note is genuine. 

Infinite and perfect power and infinite and perfect love for us knitted together is our God. His power built paradise. His love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. Our rationality, when fueled by the truth, steers us in the right direction. The truth sets us free. 

The love note is the rock upon which we build our faith. It is time to rediscover the rock and build our faith upon it. 

The love note is the foundation of Christianity.

The passage of the love note through the valley of tears from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum.

Our God is the God with the bloody wounds. Without them, the guy is an impostor. The bloody wounds tells us that our God is the union of omnipotence and love for us. When love for us and omnipotence are knitted together into our God, do we have any reason to worry? It is much better to have the God with the bloody wounds as our God than a rich uncle, right? "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)

Do you want to know God? Read his autobiography. You cannot say that you know God until you read and understand his autobiography. 

His Bloody Wounds are the Narrow Gate

Our God is the God with the bloody wounds. You can tell an impostor because an impostor is without them. Marvel at the vulnerability of our God! Our omnipotent God made himself vulnerable for our sake - so his vulnerability could speak and reveal to us the true identity of our God. His bloody wounds are the narrow gate through which we must squeeze our contemplation to acquire knowledge about our God. Contemplate the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds, the Resurrection on the far side and the thread that weaves its way through the bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. The thread is the relationship of test and result. In the Crucifixion, Resurrection and the thread that ties them together, the Son of God published his autobiography. Do you want to know God? Read and understand his autobiography. Listen first to what the Son of God said about himself before you listen to what others have said about him.Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth. You do not know God until you read and understand his autobiography.

Real Food vs. Junk Food

A diet of junk food results in malnutrition. Only real food nourishes. What food is real food and what food is junk? At the Last Supper, a meal, Jesus pointed us to the real food. The two elements of the Last Supper were his body and his blood. The use of these two elements at the Last Supper was not random or accidental. What connects his body and his blood? Obviously, his wounds connect them. Through his wounds, his blood exited his body. His use of his body and his blood at the Last Supper point us to his wounds. Our God is the God with the bloody wounds. You can tell an impostor because an impostor is without them. He wants us to contemplate the meaning of his bloody wounds. In fact, contemplation of his bloody wounds is so important to our well-being that, at the Last Supper, Jesus made his body and his blood the equivalent of food and drink. Contemplation of his bloody wounds is equal to the biological necessity of eating and drinking. Not only is food and drink necessary to sustain life but so is contemplation of the meaning of his bloody wounds. Such contemplation is as vital to our existence as food and drink . "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4) . The bloody wounds are the mouth of God. They speak to us. The vocabulary uttered through the mouth of God consists of just two words: 1) that which passed through them and 2) that which did not. Thus, the language spoken through the mouth of God is very easy to understand. With a vocabulary of only two words, the mouth of God revealed his true identity to us. Buckets of blood poured through the bloody wounds we opened in his body. On this cataract of blood, his very life itself was carried from his body. Yet, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed the buckets of blood through the wounds. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. Infinite power and infinite love for us knitted together is our God. Wow!

The Yardstick

Our success in life is measured by the yardstick of love.

Grease

Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears.

Our Crosses

Crosses of suffering try to plant us, like a tree, into the valley of tears to impede our progress to paradise.

Denying Ourselves

A natural, human tendency gives us instructions that are contrary to our self-interest. It steers us in the wrong direction. It instructs us to let love slip through our fingers when crosses of suffering torment us. We must deny ourselves. We must cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Jesus denied himself on the Cross. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Follow him. Resist suffering with love. Cling as Jesus clung.

Superman

Love transforms us into superman. It enables us to deny ourselves, to pick up and to carry our crosses as we pass through the valley of tears . With love, crosses do not crush us under their oppresive weight. With love, we can continue to make our way through the valley of tears to paradise.

Resistance

Resist suffering with love.

Lightening the Load

Love makes our crosses lighter. Love gives our crosses wings. "If a person bears great love in himself, this love gives him wings, as it were, and he can face all life’s troubles more easily because he carries in himself this great light; this is faith: being loved by God and letting oneself be loved by God in Jesus Christ. Letting oneself be loved in this way is the light that helps us to bear our daily burden." .

The Space You Occupy

Fill the space you occupy with love.

Love is the Key to the Door of the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is at hand. Love is the key to the door of the kingdom of God. We love our way into the kingdom of God.

The Economy of Paradise is Based on the Currency of Love

The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. The currency of love is different than ordinary currency. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we grow. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get . God wants us to grow rich beyond our wildest dreams by extravagantly spending the currency of love.

What is worse than suffering?

Is there anything worse than suffering? Yes. Suffering has the power to transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. It can destroy the resemblance that we bear to God. It can drain all of the love out of our hearts. A heart without love is worse than a person who is suffering. The valley of tears is hostile territory. As we pass through the valley of tears we encounter monsters of suffering. The encounters are opportunities for us to become heros by clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go. Victory belongs to those who keep love in their hearts. Defeat belongs to those who let love slip through their fingers - who fumble the ball. God does not extricate us from the valley of tears as quickly as we would like to give us the opportunity to become heroes. The challenge is to cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go as we pass through the valley of tears. This is what Jesus did. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.This is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum. The union of infinite power and infinite love for us is our God. Infinite power and infinite love for us knitted together constitute our God.

The Love Note

At Bethlehem, the God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands delivered a love note to us by putting himself into the hands of the mud. What type of literature is the Word of God? The Word of God is a love note. In the Crucifixion, the love note was tested to discover whether it was counterfeit or genuine. In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published for us. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us indeed. In the Resurrection, we learn that the love note is genuine. Imagine. The God of the universe sent us, his creatures whom he fashioned out of the mud, a love note! Wow! We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges alive from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. The evil we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. Therefore, follow him. Cling as Jesus clung. Hold tight to love and refuse to let go. The love note is reliable. It was tested and proven genuine. The love note is the rock upon which we build our faith. The love note is the foundation of Christianity. The passage of the love note through the valley of tears from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum.

The Telescope

His bloody wounds are not just the badges of the evil that we did to him. They are not just memorials to the Crucifixion. When we opened bloody wounds in the body of Christ with lash, thorns, nails and spear, we built a telescope that pierces the veil that hangs between earth and heaven. When we look through the telescope to the far side of his bloody wounds, we catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth. We see that his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us spilled through his bloody wounds. There are those who just look at his bloody wounds and not through them. There are those who look at them and through them. Into which category of Christian do you fall?

The Dial

The evil we did to him did not budge the dial that controls his love for us. It is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.

Holiness

Holiness describes a heart filled with love.

Incubators of Love

When God built the world, he included within his creation incubators of love. An incubator of love is an institution in which love has the potential to germinate, blossom and flourish. Any relationship that fosters love is an incubator of love. The relationship between a mother and her baby is an example of an incubator of love. So is marriage. So is family. So is friendship. So is Church. So is feeding the hungry, clothing the naked,  caring for the sick and other blessed acts of charity. The enemies of humanity want to destroy the incubators of love. Abortion is evil because it nips in the bud the love between a mother and her baby. Divorce is evil because it nips in the bud the love between a husband and a wife. Turning the beggars at your door away empty-handed is evil because it nips in the bud the love between a donor and a beneficiary. The friends of humanity desire to promote, to protect and to propagate love. They put themselves between incubators of love and our enemies who want to destroy them. You can tell the difference between a friend of humanity and an enemy by their attitude toward and their treatment of the incubators of love.

It is a Travesty to Leave a Dead Flower of Love in the Pot

When the flower of love is dead, it is a travesty to leave its withered skeleton in the pot. Pluck it out, discard it and start over.

 

The Crucifixion raised an Existential Question that the Son of God Himself Answered in the Resurrection

The Crucifixion raised an existential question for humanity, "Would the evil that we did to him extinguish the love that burns like a bonfire for us in his most sacred heart or reduce it by any degree?".  The expectation was that his love for us would fade as we tortured him and would die when we killed him. But, our God defies expectation. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). In the Resurrection, the Son of God himself answered the existential question raised by the Crucifixion. The answer comes to us straight from the horse's mouth. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. In the Resurrection we learn that the dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. We cannot budge it - not even by doing evil to him. Wow! Our God is the God with the bloody wounds. Contemplate what his blood wounds mean for us. His bloody wounds are the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14) through which we must squeeze our contemplation. His bloody wounds are a telescope through which we can catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. When we look through his bloody wounds, we see that his heart is still filled to the brim with love for us.

 

Did the Son of God Come Empty-handed?

Did the Son of God come empty-handed? Did he bring nothing with him for us to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears? Did not our sighs, mourning and weeping leave our lips, reach his ear and break his heart? Did he ignore our dire predicament in the valley of tears? Our God with the bloody wounds is not a tight-fisted, parsimonious, empty-handed God. When he paid us a visit, he transported from heaven to earth technology that mitigates the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. The technology teaches us to apply love to suffering. He  demonstrated that the technology works by using it himself. It is field-tested technology.  We can trust in the technology because the Son of God himself demonstrated to us that it works. His successful demonstration of the technology ought to inspire confidence in it. His successful demonstration of the technology is the reason for us to adopt the technology ourselves and use it to grease the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears.

 

The Jackpot

God is the jackpot.

Healing His Bloody Wounds

When Adam and Eve, like foolish children, ran away from their home with God, they tore open bloody wounds in the body of Christ to flee from paradise. We broke God's heart. When we return through his bloody wounds back to our home with God in paradise, we heal them. We mend God's broken heart.

Inferior Substitutes for God

Why are you taking so long, my God, to extricate us from the valley of tears? Please, Lord, do not delay . But, despite our pleas, God delays our resecue from the valley of tears. God interposes a lifetime between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. Why does God postpone our salvation? The best way to drain a lie of its power to deceive is to let a person experience a reality for himself and draw his own conclusions about it. God lets us stew in the valley of tears for a lifetime so the truth can debunk the lie. The valley of tears is an awful place. Without God in the valley of tears, our predicament is dire. The serpent, however, conjures up illusions in the valley of tears to substitute for God. The illusions are the serpent's attempts to camouflage its sourness. The illusion of riches camouflages the absence of God in the valley of tears. The illusion of power does the same. Other idols substitute themselves for God. Why is it easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God ? Riches muffle the sourness of godlessness. In riches, the lie persists. Riches are the culture in which the lie thrives. Godlessness still sucks but richness ameliorate its suckiness. The same is true for the other God subsittutes. Rational people seek these God-substitues to ameliorate the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest not to do so. It is irrational to do nothing. Some, however, try to ameliorate the sourness of godlessness with God instead of with a God-substiute. We try to pull paradise down from heaven upon our heads here on earth like a fireman with a hook pulls down a celling. As we pass through the valley of tears, we have discovered there is no substitute for God.

Our Common Language - the Language of Suffering

God took flesh in order to speak to us in the only universal language that survived the confounding of language that took place at Babel, the language of suffering. The language of suffering is our native tongue. All of the children of Adam and Eve understand it. So there would be no misunderstanding of his message, the Son of God became man - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. He communicated his message to us in the language of suffering. The language of suffering is a simple language. Its ability is to distinguish the real from the counterfeit. What survives suffering is real. What doesn't survive is counterfeit. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. No one emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love for us is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love.

 

A half-truth can obscure the full truth and, thereby, do damage to the full truth by hiding its light. Undue the damage by pushing the half-truth out of the way.

Lest We Forget the Meaning of the Bloody Wounds

Does the Son of God want us to remember anything in particular about him (Luke 22:14-20)? By transforming bread into his body and wine into his blood at the Last Supper, the Son of God pointed us in a particular direction. He showed us the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14) through which we must squeeze our contemplation. His pick of body and blood was not random or accidental.  What connects his blood with his body? Obviously, the connection is his wounds. The Son of God wants us to contemplate the meaning of his bloody wounds. Our God is the God with the bloody wounds - unique among gods - a vulnerable God. What does this characteristic tell us about God? What do his bloody wounds mean ( 1 Corinthians 1:17 ) ?

Furthermore, by making his body and his blood the equivalent of food and drink, the Son of God elevated such contemplation to the biological necessity of eating and drinking. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).  Not only is food and drink necessary to sustain life but so is contemplation of the meaning of his bloody wounds. Such contemplation is as vital to our existence as food and drink (John 6:56).

By eating his flesh and drinking his blood, we are declaring that we understand the meaning of his bloody wounds. Do we? If you do not understand the meaning of his bloody wounds, you are receiving the most Holy Eucharist unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). Your declaration of understanding is a lie. Let us, therefore, discern the meaning of his bloody wounds before we lie again.

The bloody wounds are the mouth of God.

They speak to us.

The vocabulary uttered through the mouth of God consists of just two words:

  1. that which passed through them and
  2. that which did not.

Thus, the language spoken through the mouth of God is very easy to understand. 

With a vocabulary of only two words, the mouth of God revealed his true identity to us.  

Buckets of blood poured through the bloody wounds we opened in his body. On this cataract of blood, his very life itself was carried from his body. Yet, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed the buckets of blood through the wounds. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. 

 

 
 

We can build communities of love or we can tear them down. Pick.

Love is done not merely professed.

 
 
 

The Big Picture

Our Dire Predicament

 Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into the valley of tears (Salve Regina). The valley of tears is not a nice place. In plain English, it sucks. Our predicament in the valley of tears is dire. Without God, the valley of tears is hostile territory.  Monsters inhabit the valley of tears whose sole purpose is to make our lives miserable or worse. Many are the monsters. Monsters of illness, monsters of poverty, monsters of death, monsters of injustice, monsters of loneliness, etc. The list of monsters that inhabit the valley of tears goes on and on.

Godlessness is a sinking ship. Abandon Ship!" "Abandon Ship!" is the cry of the Church. "To the lifeboats!" "To the lifeboats!" the Church proclaims.

Do you feel the exigency of our dire predicament?

Do you feel the ship of godlessness sinking under your feet?

Our Conception of Rescue

We want God to extricate us from the valley of tears as quickly as possible. Alternatively, we want God to make the valley of tears into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. 

God's Conception of Rescue

God could have abandoned us to the monsters that prowl for us in the valley of tears. He could have let us eat the fruit of our folly. He could have said, "goodbye and good riddance." But he did not. God devised a plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. His conception of rescue, however, is different than ours  (Isaiah 55:8-9).  Indeed, godlessness is a sinking ship. God, however, does not want to save the ship. God wants to save the passengers. Therefore, God has no interest in turning the valley of tears into a better, more hospitable place for godlessness people to live. Nor does God plan our immediate extrication from the valley of tears. God thinks it important that we complete our passage through the valley of tears.  He wants us to run the course and finish the race (2 Timothy 4:7).  He wants the grist to go through the mill.  So God lets us stew in the sourness of godlessness. 

The Delay

God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as he delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than he was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed. God delivered the gift of life and the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve simultaneously. Yet, they fumbled the ball. They let the gift of paradise slip through their fingers. God does not want the children of Adam and Eve to repeat the original sin of their parents. When God delivers to us the gift of paradise, God wants us to keep it.  He wants us to keep it without his having to turn paradise into a prison, himself into our warden and us into his prisoners. A cage is a cage no matter how gilded. He wants us to keep the gift of paradise of our own free will. To this end, God tweaked the timetable for the delivery of his gifts. God inserted a delay between the delivery of the gift of life and the gift of paradise. During the delay, we get to experience the sourness of godlessness for ourselves. Hot diggity dog!

Harsh but Effective Medicine

Why is God's rescue plan so harsh? 

Letting us stew in the sourness of godlessness is harsh but effective medicine. In the eyes of God, the effectiveness of the medicine justifies its harshness so, therefore, God prescribes it.

Letting us stew in the sourness of godlessness achieves multiple purposes.

1)     The serpent promised us deification in godlessness (Genesis 3:5). Our bitter experience in godlessness destroys the power of this lie to deceive us. Godlessness sucks. Life without God is a disaster. There is no stronger method of persuasion than personal experience with the truth. When we experience the truth for ourselves, we hold onto it with the highest degree of certainty. The serpent was a liar (Genesis 3:5) and that God was telling us the truth (Genesis 3:3). Our personal experience with the truth makes us sure of this. Like the prodigal son, we know from bitter experience about life in the pig sty.

2)     The sourness of godlessness serves as one of the two engines that generates the current of salvation. It pushes us to the exit of godlessness. Rational people flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self interest to do otherwise.

3)      When the gift of paradise is given to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball as Eve did, as Adam did, as Lucifer did, and as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. Our experience in godlessness makes us know better than to return. We will keep the gift of paradise of our own free will without the need to turn paradise into a prison, God into our warden and us into prisoners. A cage is a cage no matter how gilded. 

4)     The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love.  With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we grow. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get. Furthermore, love is twice blest (William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 4 Scene 1). "It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.Both the recipient and the donor enjoy the blessings of love. The valley of tears is the laboratory in which we experiment with the technology of applying love to suffering. Jesus transported the technology from heaven to earth, delivered it to us at Bethlehem and demonstrated that it works by using it himself at Calvary.  The technology came to us in the form of a love note. The love note was tested to determine whether it was genuine or counterfeit at Calvary. The results of the test were published in the Resurrection. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. The love note proved genuine. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip with which a drowning man clings to a life preserver who is tossed overboard in a stormy sea after his ship has sunk. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. Therefore, cling as Jesus clung. Love greases the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Suffering has the power to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts.  When suffering attacks us, it is a natural human tendency to fumble our grip on love - to let go of it. Jesus instructs us to deny ourselves (Matthew 16:24). He wants us to resist this natural human tendency. We resist by loving our way through suffering. Love enables us to pick up and carry the crosses that try to crush us under their weight (Matthew 16:24). Our suffering is magnified when we try to pick up and carry our crosses without love.  Love is our dearest companion in times of suffering. When love is our companion as we pass through suffering, we endure. When we try to pass through suffering without love, we perish.  In short, love kicks suffering's ass. In the valley of tears, we get opportunity after opportunity to put the technology  of applying love to suffering into practice.  Practice makes us perfect. If we put into practice the technology of applying love to suffering, we introduce ourselves to the economy of paradise.   With love, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God (Genesis 1:27). 

Our Complaints about God's Rescue Plan

Letting us stew in the sourness of godlessness generates all of the complaints about God's rescue plan (General Audience Pope Francis 28 Dec 2016). The harshness of godlessness keeps the complaint department of paradise busy. More than a few have cursed their bitter experience in godlessness and waived their fists against God. Put the blame for our dire predicament, however, on the proper culprit. God did not put us in the valley of tears. The serpent did. God started humanity in paradise. At the most, God can be blamed for not extricating us from the valley of tears as quickly as we would like. God's rescue of us is too slow. 'What took you so long?' is our only legitimate complaint.

Mitigating the Sourness of Godlessness

Our sighs, mourning and weeping (Salve Regina) left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart so God took steps to mitigate the suffering we experience as we pass through the valley of tears.

Mitigation: God limits Our Passage through the Valley of Tears to Just a Lifetime

God limits our passage through the valley of tears to just a lifetime.  A lifetime is an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. If God were a sadist or harbored a desire to punish us, he would let us stew in the sourness of godlessness for more than a lifetime.

Mitigation: The Gift of the Technology of Applying Love to Suffering

The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God on a two-part mission. Here are the mission's instructions:

  1. Transport from heaven to earth the technology of applying love to suffering and
  2. Demonstrate that the technology works by using it yourself as you hang from a Cross.

          Why? Because love kicks sufferings ass. Love is suffering's invincible foe. As we pass through the valley of tears, the struggle that matters is the struggle between love and suffering. Suffering is persistently trying to empty our hearts of love. When we resist - when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go, we are victorious. Only when we let suffering empty our hearts of love are we defeated. Clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go mitigates the friction we experience during our passage through the valley of tears. Love greases the wheels. With love, we can pick up our crosses and carry them.  Without love, our crosses crush us under their weight. With love, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God  (Genesis 1:27). Without love, suffering transmogrifies us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. We resist suffering by loving our way through it. Jesus refused to let suffering extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart or reduce it by even the slightest degree. 

          The hope of the most Holy Trinity was that a successful demonstration of the technology by none other than the Son of God himself would inspire us to use the technology ourselves as we pass through the valley of tears.  He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours.  For your own sake, follow him.  Resist suffering with love. The only way to unite your suffering with the suffering of Jesus is to resist suffering with love.

Mitigation: God Provided a Fleet of Lifeboats to Evacuate us from the Valley of Tears

 Godlessness is a sinking ship. Our salvation requires that we abandon ship and get into the life boats. God provided a fleet of life boats to evacuate us from godlessness, ferry us through the valley of tears, and return us to our home with God and his holy family in paradise. God occupies the life boats. The life boats are the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise.  In the life boats, close encounters with the living God take place. There we include God in our lives and God includes us in his. In the life boats, we are introduced to the economy of paradise. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but, by spending the currency of love, we grow rich. The more we spend, the richer we get. In the life boats, we grow rich by spending the currency of love.

The Sweetness of Paradise

The sourness of godlessness is sufficient of itself to induce us to keep the gift of paradise when the gift of paradise is delivered to us. God, however, wanted to do more for us. So much time had passed since Adam and Eve had lived with God in paradise that its memory had faded from our minds. So the most Holy Trinity decided it was time to remind us of the sweetness of paradise. Therefore, the most Holy Trinity sent us a love note. What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note.

 

The Invitation to Participate in the Quest to Discover God

Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into the valley of tears. Our predicament in the valley of tears is dire. Without God, the valley of tears is hostile territory. In the valley of tears, monsters try to devour us. Godlessness is a sinking ship. God, however, does not want us to go down with the ship. God, therefore, provided a fleet of lifeboats to evacuate us from the valley of tears. God occupies the lifeboats. In the lifeboats, close encounters with the living God take place. During a close encounter, God transforms us. We cannot transform ourselves. The Church cannot transform us. Only God can. Transformation takes place in the lifeboats. Examples of the lifeboats are the Mass, Confession, the other sacraments, works of charity, acts of kindness, prayer especially the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, fasting, the gathering of two or more together in God's name, bible study, suffering (if we apply love to it), the hour of death, etc. "Abandon Ship!" "Abandon Ship!" is the cry of the Church. "To the lifeboats!" "To the lifeboats!" the Church proclaims. If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job. The job of the Church is not to save the ship. The job of the Church is to save the passengers. The first priority of the Church is to get the children of Adam and Eve into the lifeboats and involved in the escape from godlessness to paradise. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. A new exodus served by the new Moses, the Church, is making its escape through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise. We are invited to join the new exodus. We are invited to make our escape. Our response to the invitation, however, varies. Many are still unaware of the invitation. Others, who are aware of the invitation, are indifferent to it. Some who claim to have accepted the invitation are only lukewarm, insincere or perfunctory. A few, however, are diligently engaged in the quest to discover God. Therefore, how can we help them? How can we inspire settlers to pull up the roots they have sunk deep into the valley of tears and become pilgrims passing through it? How can we promote the quest to discover God?

 
“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.”
— Psalm 14:2.
His omnipotence made paradise. His love for us makes paradise sweet. His love for us is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive.
 
Omnipotence demands respect. Love demands love.
 

What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note. It is the rock on which we build our faith.

 
 

The Self-Portrait

Would you like to meet God? You can by studying his self-portrait. The Son of God painted a self-portrait of himself to eliminate all amiguity, confusion and misunderstanding about the true identity of God. The self-portrait consists of two panels. On the first panel, Jesus painted the Crucifixion in the pigments of torture and death. On the second panel, Jesus painted the Resurrection in the pigments of survival. The panels are joined together by his bloody wounds. Through his bloody wounds, he weaved the panels together with the relationship of test and result. The Crucifixion was the test. In the Resurrection, the results of the test - that which survived the Crucifixion - were published. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us indeed. When we opened bloody wounds in the body of Christ, we built a telescope that pierces the veil between heaven and earth. When we look at the telescope, all we see is the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds. However, when we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we see the Resurrection on their far side. We catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges alive from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love. In fact, God is head over heels in love with us. We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the price he paid out of his own pocket for the production of the Crucifixion. He paid the price not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the price from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else! We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Given that the evil we did to him did not turn the dial, it is safe to say that there is nothing we can do to turn it. The dial does not budge. His love for us is intransigent. His love for us is a stubborn love. The evil we do to our lover does not affect it in the slightest. The bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart is inextinguishable. Moreover, it cannot be reduced by even the slightest degree. Who is our God? Our God is the guy with the bloody wounds. Without the bloody wounds, the guy is an impostor. Contemplate the near side of his bloody wounds, the far side of his bloody wounds and the relationship of test and result that ties them together, and you will undertand the true identity of God as well as any apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live understands it. Keep his self-portrait ever before you. Like Mary, keep all these things and ponder them in your heart (Luke 2:19). God is the indissobluble marriage between omnipotence and love for us. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

 
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
— Psalm 34:8
His bloody wounds are the rainbow of the new covenant.
 

How do you Recognize the Son of God?

How do you recognize the Son of God? The Son of God is the guy with the bloody wounds. Without them, the guy is an impostor. The bloody wounds are the visible tokens of his omnipotence and his love for us. They are the rainbow of the new covenant. Ask the guy with the bloody wounds to explain their meaning. Here is the explanation. The bloody wounds are the mouth of God. They speak to us. The vocabulary uttered through the mouth of God consists of two words: 1) that which passed through his bloody wounds and 2) that which did not. With a vocabulary of only two words, the mouth of God revealed to us the true identity of God. Only by listening to the mouth of God do we get a fair and accurate representation of God - a high fidelity, first class representation of God far superior to any representation of God made by human hands. Buckets of blood poured through the bloody wounds we opened in his body. On this cataract of blood, his very life itself was carried from his body. Yet, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed the buckets of blood through the wounds. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. Therefore, follow him. Cling as Jesus clung. Hold tight to love and refuse to let go.

When you Hang as Jesus Hung, Cling as Jesus Clung

Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. The Crucifixion was a demonstration of a practical solution to the real problem of suffering. The Cross is not a recommendation from God to us to suffer. The Cross is a recommendation from God to us to love. God is not a sadist. God is a philanthropist. God wants us to love our way through suffering. The ill effects of our crosses of suffering are magnified when we try to pick them up and carry them without love. Cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go as you pass through the valley of tears. Otherwise our crosses of suffering transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. By loving our way through the valley of tears, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God.

When you Hang as Jesus hung,
cling as Jesus clung.
Hold tight and refuse to let go
of love, suffering's invincible foe.


Love kicks suffering's ass.

The Economy of Paradise is based on the Currency of Love

The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but, by spending the currency of love, we grow rich. The more we spend, the richer we get.

The Jelly Donut

We are in the business of selling jelly donuts. The best way to sabotage sales of jelly donuts is to leave the jelly out. A jelly donut is not a jelly donut without the jelly. It is something else - a croissant perhaps.

What is the jelly of Christianity? It is God's love for us.

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. But he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges alive from the dead. He did. That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Divinity is more than omnipotence. Divinity is also love.

In fact, the Son of God is head over heels in love with us.

We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the price he paid out of his own pocket for the production of the Crucifixion. He paid the price not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the price from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else!

We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever.

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Given that the evil we did to him did not turn the dial - not even by the slightest degree -, it is safe to say that there is nothing we can do to turn it.

How do we recognize the Son of God? The Son of God is the guy with the bloody wounds. What is the Son of God without his bloody wounds? Without his bloody wounds, the guy is an impostor. Christianity pivots around the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Jesus with lash, thorns, nails and spear. When we opened bloody wounds in his body, we built a telescope that pierces the veil between heaven and earth. Therefore, do not just look at his bloody wounds. Look through the telescope of his bloody wounds to catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth. See that the economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but, by spending the currency of love, we grow rich. The more we spend, the richer we get. Look through his bloody wounds, to see how paradise works! No bloody wounds; no revelation that the true identity of Jesus is the union of omnipotence and love for us. Sanitize God - strip him of his bloody wounds - bowdlerize him of them - and we obscure the glory of God with a meaningless, half-baked representation of him. Better no representation of God than an inaccurate, distorted representation of him (Exodus 20:4).

The bloody wounds are the source of our joy and happiness. His love for us makes his omnipotence sweet. Its sweetness is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.

When you are in the business of selling jelly donuts, make sure to not leave out the jelly.

 
 
Love is the insulation that goes between you and suffering.
 

Original Sin

           God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as he delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than he was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.

          The story of Adam and Eve is not about getting the gift of paradise. God gave Adam and Eve the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously - no questions asked. Adam and Eve did not have to satisfy any conditions in order to get the gift of life or the gift of paradise. The gifts were gratis - free of charge - a quid without a quo. The story of Adam and Eve is about the keeping of paradise or, more precisely, the failure to keep the gift of paradise.

          The evidence is irrefutable that getting the gift of paradise does not mean that we will keep it. Eve fumbled the ball. So did Adam. So did Lucifer and the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer. God does not want the children of Adam and Eve to repeat the mistake of their parents. When God gives us the gift of paradise (and the giving of the gift of paradise is ineluctable), God wants us to keep it without having to turn paradise into a prison, God into our warden and us into prisoners. God wants us to keep paradise of our own free wills.

          So God tweaked the timetable according to which he delivers his gifts to us. For the children of Adam and Eve, God inserted a delay. He inserted a delay between the delivery of the gift of life and the gift of paradise.

          During the delay, he exposes our rationality to the truth (Isaiah 5:20). Exposure to the truth inoculates us against the lie. When we have a first-hand experience with the truth, lies no longer have any power over us. The power of a lie to deceive is destroyed. Personal experience with the truth defangs the lie. During the delay, we see for ourselves that paradise is sweet and godlessness is sour. When fueled by the truth, our rationality steers our free wills in the right direction.  Our rationality tells our free wills to seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.  We keep the gift of paradise, when our free wills are exposed to the truth.

          Until the power of the lie to deceive is destroyed, we are susceptible to fumbling the ball. After the power of the lie to deceive is destroyed, it becomes impossible for us to fumble the ball. The delay is all about destroying the power of the lie to deceive us. Our purpose in the valley of tears is to discover the truth. The truth sets us free.

How do we protect them against the lie of the serpent? We expose them to the truth. Personal experience with the truth destroys the power of the lie to deceive.
Getting the children of Adam and Eve to taste for themselves the sourness of godlessness and the sweetness of paradise is the sledgehammer that shatters the illusions that distort the landscape of reality. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. During the delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise, we are given the opportunity to taste the truth for ourselves. Personal experience with the sourness of godlessness is harsh but effective medicine. It destroys the power of the lie to deceive.
Once the power of the lie to deceive you is destroyed, there is no reason to delay any longer the delivery of the gift of paradise. The only reason to keep you in the valley of tears is to help to destroy the power of the lie to deceive your neighbors.
 
 
 
Deification requires that we learn to love. When we love, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God.
 
 

To the lifeboats! To the lifeboats!

Godlessness is a sinking ship. The mission God gave the Church is not to save the ship. The mission God gave the Church is to save the passengers. God is not interested in making godlessness into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live . God provided a fleet of life boats to evacuate us from godlessness, ferry us through the valley of tears and return us back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise . God occupies the life boats. The life boats are the holy places that define the escape route of the new exodus through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise. What makes a place holy? At the holy places, the currency of love is spent. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but, by spending the currency of love, we grow rich. The more we spend, the richer we get. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. True happiness here on earth is only found where the currency of love is spent. "Abandon ship! Abandon ship!" is the cry of the Church. "To the lifeboats! To the lifeboats" the Church exclaims. If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job.

 

The Three Stages of Conversion

          The most Holy Trinity sent the Holy Spirit to tug at our souls. The curious are following the tug back to its source. Along the way, the curious are exploring the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. They are participating in the quest to discover God. Yet, how few are the curious! How many are the strangers to the quest!  Of those participating, how many are lukewarm, insincere or perfunctory! Life approaches perfection only when we are diligently engaged in the quest to discover God.  Therefore, is it possible to stimulate interest in the quest? 

          Yes. There is a way. But, the approach cannot be scattershot. Throwing everything that's Catholic at them at the same time willy nilly in the hope that some of it sticks does not work. Settlers do not ripen into pilgrims simultaneously. Each passes through the stages of conversion according to his own, unique, idiosyncratic timetable. Therefore, the tools of conversion must be tailored to the stage. The tool that is appropriate for one stage is inappropriate for the next. For conversion to take place, the stage must first be ascertained and the tool appropriate for the stage applied. There are three tools of conversion: 1) the sledgehammer of truth, 2) the map of the escape route, and 3) the key of morality. Each tool is appropriate to a particular stage.

          The goal of conversion is to transform settlers into pilgrims. Like trees, settlers have put down roots deep into the valley of tears. They are content to stand still even though the valley of tears is hostile territory. In hostile territory, movement is necessary for survival.  Settlers standing still in the valley of tears must become pilgrims passing through it. Run, settlers, run. Do not stand still. Run from holy place to holy place. [If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job (Matthew 3:7).] 

          In the first stage of conversion, the illusions are shattered that hide from us the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. The sledgehammer of truth is the tool appropriate to the first stage of conversion.  Is all truth brought to bear on the illusions? No. Just the subset of truth that pertains to them. The illusions distort the landscape of reality  (Isaiah 5:20).. Under the illusions, the world is topsy-turvey. The illusions deceive us into thinking that godlessness is sweet and paradise is sour. When the illusions are shattered, the truth becomes visible to us. The serpent's promise of deification in godlessness is exposed as a lie (Genesis 3:5). We see with our own eyes that paradise is sweet and that godlessness is sour. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. The truth motivates us. The truth sets us free.  Settlers pick up the roots they have planted in the valley of tears and become pilgrims passing through it. Without pausing to pack our bags, we join the quest to discover God. The current of salvation sweeps us up off of our feet as it flows inexorably from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise and carries us back to our home with God and his holy family in paradise (except the contrary who perversely swim against it).  

          Before the second stage of conversion can begin, however, the Church must wait for the signal. The Church must be patient and wait for the signal that heralds the second stage. After the illusions are shattered by the sledgehammer of truth, the curious start clamoring for directions: "How do we get there from here - from godlessness to paradise?".  The plea for directions is the signal that the time is ripe for the Church to declare, "we have the map and know the way". [Sharing the map of the escape route with settlers still deceived by illusions who are not asking for directions bears no fruit (Matthew 7:6)] The map of the escape route is the tool appropriate to the second stage of conversion. God built an escape route through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise (Isaiah 35:8), defined it with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church, entrusted the map to the Church and gave the Church the mission of serving the new exodus as the new Moses. The new exodus is making its escape on the escape route through the valley of tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land (Exodus 3:8). The movement of the new exodus on the escape route forms the needle of the compass that always points to God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be certain that we are heading in the right direction. The holy places that define the escape route are the jewels of a beautiful necklace that God established in, set against and in contrast to the hostile desert of godlessness. The beautiful necklace is a gift from the God who loves us - a token of his love.

          In the second stage of conversion, the Church puts down the sledgehammer of truth, picks up the map of the escape route and becomes the tour guide who takes the curious to the holy places.  At the holy places, the curious explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. At a holy place, we include God in our lives and God includes us in theirs. Close encounters with the living God take place at the holy places. During a close encounter, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. What does the light show the darkness? The light shows the darkness that the economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend the richer we get (Matthew 13:12) Therefore, let us meet at a holy place where we can grow rich by spending the currency of love.  No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. No one walks away empty handed.  A close encounter with the living God transforms us. At a holy place we keep one eye open to catch a glimpse of God in the moment. Examples of the holy places upon the earth at which close encounters with the living God take place are the Mass, Confession, the other sacraments, works of charity, acts of kindness, prayer especially the rosary, Eucharistic adoration, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, fasting, the gathering of two or more together in God's name, bible study, suffering (if we apply love to it), the hour of death, etc. The holy places are the life boats that God has provided to ferry us out of godlessness, through the valley of tears, to paradise. God occupies the life boats.

           In the second stage of conversion, the Church is the usher who shows us to our seats so that God can put on the show. God, not the Church, is the star of the show.  The Church is the servant of the escape not its master.  God is the master of the escape. It is God's escape route that takes us from godlessness to paradise - not the Church's. The Church is the trustee of the escape route who owes a fiduciary duty to the pilgrims engaged in the escape and to the settlers not yet interested in the escape. The fiduciary duty of the Church is to help the children of Adam and Eve to discover God - all of the children of Adam and Eve, not just some - both saints and sinners, especially sinners (Matthew 9:11-13). Discovery takes place at the holy places.

          God is not the king who rules us. He is the king who loves us. In place of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole, the means by which he governs us is love. In the kingdom of the king who loves us, the citizens govern themselves. We desire to please him. We trip all over ourselves in our eagerness to please him. The Church is wise to do likewise. The job of the Church is not to rule us. The Son of God did not pay us a visit to establish another government here on earth (John 18:36).  The job of the Church is unique. The job of the Church is to facilitate our escape - not to frustrate it, not to filter it and not to foul it up. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. Like UPS, the US Postal Service or Federal Express, the Church is all about logistics - getting us from here to there - from godlessness to paradise. "Abandon ship! Abandon ship!" is the cry of the Church. "Into the lifeboats! Into the lifeboats" the Church exclaims. Godlessness is a sinking ship (Mark 4:35-39). We are its passengers. The Church is its crew.  God gave the Church a rescue mission. However, the rescue mission that God gave the Church is not to save the ship. The rescue mission that God gave the Church is to save the passengers. God is not interested in making godlessness into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants us to exhume the corpse of godlessness that is poisoning us as it rots in our hearts. God wants the Church to get us out of the valley of tears, into the lifeboats and on our way to paradise. 

          The first two stages are the foundation of the process of building a Christian. They are the root from which a Christian sprouts. Everything else is built upon the foundation. Get the foundation right and everything else falls into place. Get the foundation wrong and everything else falls apart. 

          In the third stage, the roof of morality is installed upon the foundation of conversion. Like the second stage, a signal heralds the start of the third stage. Morality is the key that unlocks the cages of sin in which we imprison ourselves. When we bang on the bars of our cages and beg for the key and demand our freedom, the signal that the third stage has begun is sounded. Trying to install the roof of morality on a settler without a foundation, however, is akin to giving what is holy to dogs or throwing your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). Settlers view morality as the cage that imprisons them and not as the key that sets them free. Pilgrims, on the other hand, have an open mind about what is the cage and what is the key. Pilgrims are more willing than settlers to take the bit of morality into their mouths, the bridle of morality onto their heads and the reins of morality into their hands. Morality is the jeweled crown that pilgrims wear on their heads as we pass through the valley of tears.

          The Church, however, has a surplus of roofers and a shortage of foundation workers. Everybody is a roofer with an opinion about how we ought to behave.  Nobody is working on the foundation.  As a result, the escape is sputtering and stalling. Fewer and fewer are going to Mass. None are going to Confession. Marriages are falling apart. Mothers are murdering their babies. The priesthood is going extinct (Pope Francis 1/28/2107 at the Congregation for the Institute for the Consecrated Life) (Summary of Bulletin). The trend is downward and accelerating. The only sacrament holding its own is the sacrament of extreme unction and this is so only because the dead have no choice. The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is dying. 

          God is not dead. Indeed, God is very much alive. However, the conversation about God is dead. Killing the conversation about God is tantamount to killing God. The enemies of the Church know this. The Church does not. God is the colossus who bestrides the universe. The Church trivializes him by excluding him from the conversation. By excluding God from the conversation, the Church has turned God into an inscrutable, aloof caricature of himself. The Church assumes we have an understanding of God.  The assumption, however, is incorrect. God is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5). 

          It is time to stop squandering the conversation. It is time to change the ratio of the content of the conversation to more foundation and less roof.  More pizzazz; less nitty-gritty.  More Mary; less Martha. More revelation; less regulation. More God; less Church. No change in doctrine; just a change in emphasis - a tweak, nothing more. 

 
Omnipotence built paradise. However, it is his love for us that makes paradise sweet.
Keep one eye open to catch a glimpse of God in the moment.
The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. The currency of love is the medium of exchange in paradise. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we grow. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get.
The sanctimonious want to bar sinners from the holy places that define the escape route through the valley of tears They want to erect “Do Not Enter” and “No Trespassing” signs to keep sinners away from the holy places. Unfortunately, this does not help sinners to discover God. Sinners do not transform themselves. Only God transforms sinners and the transformation takes place at the holy places. If the goal is to transform sinners into saints, it is necessary to welcome them to the holy places.
When Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise like foolish children, they created a void. Nature abhors a vacuum. The void must be filled. We can fill it with God or with earthly things. Your choice.
 

The Dial of Love

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the cost he paid out of his own pocket to produce the event known as the Crucifixion. He paid the cost not from his unlimited divine resources. He paid the cost from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else! We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still in love with us. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is foreever. The evil we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart or reduce it by even the slightest degree. If our evil is ineffective, can anything affect his love for us? Wow! God is head over heals in love with us.

The Core of Christianity

He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us after we tortured and killed him. This is the core of Christianity articulated in just 19 words. The first part of the sentence describes the Resurrection. The second part describes the Crucifixion. The evil baptism into which we immersed him ought to have produced radically different results. The evil we did to him ought to have contaminated him with evil. It ought to have transmogrified the Son of God from our friend into our enemy - into the God who hates us - into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. It ought to have emptied his heart of his love for us. His love for us ought to have faded as we tortured him and ought to have died when we killed him. But it did not. Surprisingly, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard in the stormy sea after his ship has sunk. The survival of his love for us tells us without any ambiguity whatsoever that God is head over heels in love with us. The Most Holy Trinity sent a love note to us at Bethlehem, let us test the genuineness of the love note at Calvary and revealed the results of the test in the Resurrection. The results of the test are the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed. P.S. Perhaps, we ought to cling as Jesus clung?

 

The Autobiography of God

A Contemplation before Eucharistic Adoration

          The Son of God published his autobiography during the visit he paid us at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. The autobiography was not written in words but was done in deeds. It consists of three chapters: 1) the Crucifixion, 2) the Resurrection and 3) the connection between them. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are connected together by the bloody wounds we opened in his body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. His bloody wounds have two sides. On the near side of his bloody wounds is the Crucifixion. On the far side is the Resurrection. Thus, two historical, well witnessed and well documented events in the life of Christ and the connection between them serve as the foundation of Christianity. They are the rocks on which Christians build their faith. A relationship runs from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds and to the Resurrection. It is the thread that weaves the autobiographical events together. It is the relationship of test and result. In the Crucifixion, Jesus was put to the test. In the Resurrection, we learn the results of the test. The results of the test are the good news of great joy. Given the difficulty of the test, the results are very good news for us, indeed!

          When we look at the near side of his bloody wounds, we see the Crucifixion. What fools we are! Into a wicked baptism we immersed him! What vile hospitality did we show our God! We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died.  What worse evil could we have done to the Son of God than torture and kill him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth? After we tortured him, we stuffed him into the black hole of death. Nobody and nothing escape from the black hole of death. The story was over. He was a loser. 

          Or was he? 

          When we look through his bloody wounds to their far side, we see the Resurrection. His bloody wounds are not just the badges of the evil that we did to him. When we opened bloody wounds in the body of Christ with lash, thorns, nails and spear, we built a telescope that pierces the veil between earth and heaven. When we look through the telescope to the far side of his bloody wounds, we catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth. We see that He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us after we tortured and killed him. Ordinarily, nobody and nothing escape from the black hole of death. But he did. That he emerged from the dead still alive was unprecedented. It is the indisputable proof of the omnipotence of Jesus. Yet, his victory over death is nothing when compared to the fact that he emerged from the dead still in love with us. After we tortured and killed him, who would have predicted that he would emerge from the dead still in love with us? The evil we did to him ought to have transmogrified the Son of God from our friend into our enemy - into the God who hates us - into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. But it did not. It failed to do so. Surprisingly, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Wow! Buckets of blood spilled through his bloody wounds. His very life itself was carried out of his body through the bloody wounds on a cataract of blood. But not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us spilled. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. That he emerged from the black hole of death still in love with us suggests that our conception of divinity as omnipotence is incomplete. Jesus is more than just omnipotence. Jesus is love. We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us from the magnitude of the evil that we did to him. Jesus paid the cost of the revelation of his love for us not from his unlimited divine resources but from his limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else. We get a sense of the duration of his love for us from its indestructibility. Love survived the evil we did to him. That our evil did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree tells us without any ambiguity that nothing can. The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, the dial is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.

          When we look at the Crucifixion, we see his ignominious defeat. Unlike the mighty God of the Old Testament who freed his people from the Egyptians, this puny God of the New Testament failed to free his people from the Romans. The Romans defeated him by impaling him on a cross like a worm on a hook. Jesus failed. Or did he? His success can only be seen when we get our tyrants straight. Jesus did not pay us a visit to free us from either the Egyptians or the Romans. Jesus had a bigger fish to fry. Only when we turn our attention from the Egyptians and the Romans to this far worse tyrant do we see his success. We are born in the image and likeness of God. The tyrant from whom Jesus came to free us has the power to destroy any resemblance that we bear to God. He can transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. The tyrant lives within us. He is a natural human tendency. As we pass through the valley of tears, crosses try to crush us under their oppressive weight. When this happens, the tyrant within us instructs us to release our grip on love - to let love slip through our fingers. This is the wrong advice. The tyrant's instructions hurt rather than help us. They are contrary to our self-interest. They steer us in the wrong direction. Our passage through the valley of tears is difficult. However, without love, our passage through the valley of tears becomes intolerable. The friction of passing through the valley of tears without love is far worse than the ill effects of the crosses of suffering that attack us.  Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Without love, our crosses bog us down in the valley of tears impeding our progress to paradise. Love transforms us into superman with the ability to pick up and carry our crosses so we can continue our journey back home to paradise. Therefore, we must fight the tyrant within us who tries to empty our hearts of love. By clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go, we benefit ourselves. We are the primary beneficiaries of love. For our own sake, we must resist. We must deny this natural, human tendency. We must cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go.  Only love makes our crosses bearable. Only love makes our suffering redemptive. 

          From his autobiography, we learn the identity of God. The identity of God was revealed to us in his autobiography. His autobiography is the revelation of his love for us, the revelation of the power of love, the revelation that paradise is love and the revelation that Jesus is love. Why did the Son of God feel the need to pay us a visit himself to give us a lesson in love? He could have delegated the job to his minions. He could have dispatched his flunkies. But he did the job himself. Why? What was so important? Why did the teacher of love himself come to give us a lesson in love? As we pass through the valley of tears, our sighs, mourning and weeping left our lips, reached God's ears and broke God's heart. Out of compassion for our suffering, the Son of God paid us a visit not to teach us how to avoid the crosses of suffering that try to crush us under their weight but to teach us how best to cope with them as we pass through the valley of tears. He did not come to extricate us from the valley of tears. He came to show us how best to pass through the valley of tears. Thus, the brevity of life proves the mercy of God. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. He coped with his Cross to teach us how to cope with ours. The teacher of love transported from heaven to earth a practical solution to the real problem of suffering. Moreover, he demonstrated himself that the practical solution works by letting us torture and kill him. A demonstration by the Son of God himself is much more persuasive than a demonstration by a minion or a flunky. Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into the valley of tears. They ran after the wrong aspect of divinity. They ran after the promise of omnipotence - the serpent's promise of deification in godlessness - the promise of unbridled power. In running after the promise of omnipotence, they left behind the better aspect of divinity. They left behind love. The teacher of love paid us a visit to shift the focus of the children of Adam and Eve from omnipotence to love

          The Cross is not an invitation from God to us to suffer. Thinking it so is a perverse misunderstanding of the Cross. Such perverse thinking is part of the gospel of irrationality. It is a lie. Run from anyone who preaches the gospel of irrationality. Run fast and far. Distrust anyone who is peddling a sadomasochistic model of God. They do not know what they are talking about. They haven't a clue. God is not a sadist. God is a philanthropist. Never doubt it. Never confuse the two. The Cross is indeed an invitation. However, it is an invitation from God to us to love not to suffer. In the school of suffering, love is the teacher. God does not want us to participate in his suffering. God want us to participate in his loving.  He wants us to love our way through suffering. He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. He coped with his cross to teach us how to cope with ours. From the cross, he showed us the secret of how best to pass through the valley of tears - how to pick up and carry the crosses that try to crush us under their weight. Our suffering, not our sins, inspired Jesus to transport from heaven to earth the technology of applying love to suffering and to demonstrate that the technology works. The Crucifixion. the Resurrection and the connection between the two autobiographical events are the proof that the technology works. He tested the technology himself on the Cross. He clung to love held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man who clings to a life preserver in the stormy sea after his ship has sunk. Love facilitated his passage through the valley of tears as he coped with his Cross. He tested the technology to show us it works in order to inspire confidence in us to give the technology a try. The technology works. Praise God. The technology works. Use it. A word to the wise is sufficient.

     Let me address those who come to the conclusion that God is a sadist not a philanthropist because crosses of evil attack us as we pass through the valley of tears. The serpent, not God, induced our parents, Adam and Eve, to run away from their home in paradise like foolish children and to take us with them into the valley of tears. Put the blame where it belongs. God did not stick us into the valley of tears. At most, our complaint against God is that he does not extricate us from the valley of tears as quickly as we desire. God makes us stay a lifetime in the valley of tears. A lifetime is an infinitesimally thin slice of time when we compare it to the thickness of eternity. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. God let's us stew in the valley of tears for multiple reasons. Letting us stew is harsh but effective medicine.  When the gift of paradise is delivered to us, we will not fumble the ball as Lucifer did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did, as Eve did and as Adam did. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. Our experience in the valley of tears makes us know better. Letting us stew in the valley of tears inoculates us against "original sin" - letting the gift of paradise slip through our fingers. It increases the likelihood that we will keep the gift of paradise, when the gift of paradise is delivered to us. Its effectiveness is why God prescribes the medicine of letting us stew in the valley of tears. God knows that we will complain against its harshness. God rather be vilified than us fumbling the gift of paradise. Because we stew briefly in the valley of tears, there is no need for God to turn paradise into a prison, God into a warden and us into prisoners. Our rationality keeps in paradise. A cage is a cage no matter how gilded. Letting us stew in the valley of tears is evidence of the great respect God has for the freedom of our wills. Furthermore, letting us stew in the sourness of godlessness also proves that the serpent was a liar. It destroys his credibility. There is no deification in godlessness. Moreover, in the school of suffering, the teacher is love. Hopefully, a good many of us will learn to love in order to battle the crosses of suffering that attack us as we pass through the valley of tears. When we love, we discover paradise here on earth. 
 
          The God who fashioned out of the mud with his hands put a love note into the hands of the mud. It was a love note from God to us. The love note was the Son of God himself. God hand delivered it to us at Bethlehem in the form of a helpless baby wrapped in swaddling clothes born in poverty. The baby is the icon of love. What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note. The genuineness of the love note was tested and proven for us during the two events in the life of Christ that constitute his autobiography: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. We ripped the love note up. We tore it to shreds. If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. However, it did not. His love for us survived the evil that we did to him. Its survival is the proof that God is head over heals in love with us. His love for us, therefore, is real.   Wow! What a blessed reality! Wow! What a God is our God! God is greater than we give him credit. God is our father who is omnipotent and who is head over heals in love with us. Given this reality, do we have any reason whatsoever to worry?
 
          Our God is not a one dimensional, inscrutable cardboard cut-out. The representation that God gave us of himself in his autobiography has depth. All other lesser representations made by human hands must yield to the representation found in his autobiography. In cases of conflict, the lesser representations must yield to the autobiography. To understand the fullness of his autobiographical message, all three chapters of his autobiography must be contemplated. Contemplate fewer than three chapters and the message of his autobiography gets distorted.

          The autobiography of God teaches us the two details of divinity: 1) omnipotence and 2) love. Seek love first. Do not leave love behind as our parents, Adam and Eve, did in their foolish quest for deification in godlessness. Cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Cling as Jesus clung. Love is paradise. God is love.

God is a Philanthropist (Not a Sadist)

God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as he delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God will not be less generous with us than he was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.

The sweetness of paradise gets us into paradise. The sourness of godlessness keeps us there. Fueled by the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. Fueled by falsehood, our rationality leads us astray. Rational people seek the sweeteness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. The path to salvation is through the truth. The appeal is to our rationality. Jesus is the way, the truth, etc.

His love for us was tested in and survived adversity. We baptized him in a boiling cauldron of evil. Yet, he emerged still alive and still in love with us. Wow! He continues to love us nonetheless. Despite the evil we did to him, he continues to love us nonetheless.

The Goal of the Serpent

The goal of the serpent at Calvary was to drain the most sacred heart of Jesus of his love for us. Without God's love, humanity cannot survive on its own. Stop God from loving humanity and humanity ceases to exist. Salvation history is the story of the many failed attempts of the serpent to persuade God to stop loving us. What better way for the serpent to accomplish his goal than by inducing us to baptize the Son of God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth in a boiling cauldron of suffering. Surely, the serpent reasoned, this grievous insult to the venerable body of the Son of God would turn God against humanity. It would change God from a friend into an enemy of humanity like the serpent. But, surprisingly, it did not. The serpent failed. The Crucifixion is the pinnacle of the serpent's failure. Buckets of blood spilled from the bloody wounds that we opened in his body. But not a drop of his love for us spilled. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Despite the evil we did to him, God refused to stop loving us. To the serpent, God said, "No." Stubborn is His love for us. It is intransigent - indestructible. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the proof that Jesus is God. Nothing emerges from the black hole of death. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, is the proof of so much more than "mere" omnipotence. This added detail reveals to us that our simple conception of divinity as omnipotence is not quite accurate. Divinity has another aspect besides omnipotence. That love survived the evil we did to him is the proof that divinity is love. Wow! His love for us is crazy! God is head over heels in love with us!

In the school of suffering, love is the teacher.

The King Who Loves Us

Jesus is our king. His palace is the Mass. His throne is the most Holy Eucharist. His kingdom is at hand. He is not the typical king and his kingdom is not the typical kingdom. He broke the mold for kingship. He is not the king who rules us. He is the king who loves us. In place of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole, the means by which he governs us is love. In the kingdom of the king who loves us, the citizens govern themselves. We desire to please him. We trip all over ourselves in our eagerness to please him. Wow! Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of the King who loves sinners like me ?

The Big Picture of Christianity

The Problem and solution

God is a philanthropist (Not a Sadist) (Click Here)

Fumbling the Ball (Click Here)

The Illusion Conjured Up by the Serpent

The Illusion (Click Here)

Godlessness (Click Here)

Shatter the Illusion with the Sledgehammer of Truth

The Sledgehammer of Truth (Click Here)

The Sourness of Godlessness

Harsh but effective Medicine (Click Here)

Why does evil exist in the valley of tears? (Click Here)

Speaking to us in Our Native Tongue (Click Here)

Fill the Earth With the Knowledge of God

The Son of God paid us a Visit

The Purpose of the Visit (Click Here)

The Yeast of Divinity (Click Here)

The Bloody Wounds We Opened in the Body of Christ ARE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CRUCIFIXION AND THE RESURRECTION

More and Better Theology (Click Here)

Ending the Confusion (Click Here)

Nothing Escapes from the Dead. Nothing. With Jesus, two Details of Divinity did (Click Here)

The Telescope (Click Here)

Different Stories Unfolded on the Different Layers of Reality (Click Here)

The Mouth of the Word of God is His Bloody Wounds (Click Here)

Why did God give us two hands? (Click Here)

A One Gallon Tank Cannot Handle Two Gallons of Information (Click Here)

Why Body and Blood? Why not Neck and Nose? (Click Here)

The Mighty God who Defeated the Egyptians versus the "Puny" God whom the Romans Defeated (Click Here)

Articulating a High Fidelity Message (Click Here)

Our Failure to Piss Him Off (Click Here)

The Lesson of the Crucifixion (Click Here)

The Mission The Father Gave the Son was to Transport Technology from Heaven to Earth and to Demonstrate that the Technology Works by Using It

The Technology Jesus Transported and Demonstrated (Click Here)

The Sailor and the Storm (Click Here)

The Sweetness of Paradise

He kept not a penny for Himself (Click Here)

Amplification (Click Here)

What did Jesus Prove? (Click Here)

God Thought it so Important to Persuade us that God Loves us that God made a Great Investment in the Proof (Click Here)

The Dial that Controls his Love for us (Click Here)

Indestructibility (Click Here)

The Treasure of Christianity in Twenty-Three (23) Words (Click Here)

The Freight Train (Click Here)

God's Declaration of Independence (Click Here)

What type of literature is the word of God? (Click Here)

The Autobiography of God (Click Here) [Revised 11/26/2016]

  • The Crucifixion was the difficult test. In the Resurrection are the results of the test.

The Piñata (Click Here)

Disconnecting the Results from the Test (Click Here)

The Escape from Godlessness to Paradise

The Escape Route (Click Here)

Safari (Click Here)

The Appeal is to our Rationality (Click Here)

The Three Stages of the Escape (Click Here)

The Holy Places that Define the Escape Route

Prayer

  • Climb to heaven on the ladder of prayer one rung at a time.

The Mass

Confession

Eucharistic Adoration

Baptism

Confirmation

The Other Sacraments

The Role of the Church in the Escape

The Tour Guide (Click Here)

Safari (Click Here)

With What do you Bait the Hook to Fish for the Children of Adam and Eve (Click here)

The Ban on Women in the Workplace (Click Here)

Instant Coffee (Click Here)

The Two Tables (Click Here)

Bugs Frozen in Amber (Click Here)

Sin

Insensitivity to Sin (Click Here)

Shifting the Paradigm from Ptolemy to Copernicus (Click Here)

Suffering

The New Evangelization

The Formula for Converting Sinners into Saints is Missing and the New Evangelization cannot start without it (Click Here)