The Big Picture of Christianity

The Cross is the flag that the most Holy Trinity raised to rally Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

The game of life that we are playing is different than the game that God wants us to play . Adversity and prosperity are the stakes that matter in our game. What matters to God, however, is the struggle between us and the monster that lurks in the valley of tears who tries to wring our hearts dry of love as a sponge is wrung dry of water. The stakes in God's game are different.

Jesus is our knight in shining armor. He vanquished the monster who dwells amid suffering that tried to empty his heart of love for us. He slew the dragon that tried to transmogrify him into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. As we tortured and killed him, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. In doing so, he showed us how to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. To follow him, we, too, must deny ourselves . We, too, must vanquish the monster and slay the dragon. When we hang as Jesus hung, we, too, must cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, suffering's invincible foe. Why? Because love kicks suffering's ass.

He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours.

The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God from heaven to earth to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears and to suggest to us the possibility that we can do the same for our neighbors.

The Son of God did not make the trip from heaven to earth to make our passage through the valley of tears harder. He made the trip to make our passage easier. He transported from heaven to earth grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Moreover, he demonstrated that the grease works by using it himself as we tortured and killed him.

The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God from heaven to earth to bring us the solution to the problem of suffering.

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 most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God from heaven to earth to introduce us to the currency of love and to establish the economy of paradise here and now upon the earth.

His love for us is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive.

 
 

Our Dire Predicament
in the Valley of Tears

Where are We?

Do you know where you are? Do you even have a clue? Are you oriented or disoriented? Are you lost? Which way is up? Which way is down? Do you know that you are exiled in the valley of tears? What are the implications of your exile?

God delivered the gift of life and the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve simultaneously. There was no delay between the two gifts.

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. The valley of tears sucks. In the valley of tears we are in a dire predicament .

Adam and Eve opted out of paradise after the gift of paradise had already been delivered to them.

The story of Adam and Eve is viewed by many as a child’s fairy tale with little or no relevance to us today. Its lesson is judged too simple and, hence, too well-understood, to deserve any further serious contemplation. It is taken for granted. Few sermons are preached about it. Yet, the story of Adam and Eve is the sine qua non to an understanding of God's plan for our salvation.

The evidence is incontrovertible. Lucifer fumbled the ball. The gaggle of angels who follow him fumbled the ball. Adam fumbled the ball. Eve fumbled the ball. God had put the gift of paradise into their hands but they let it slip through their fingers.

In the valley of tears, we are like fish out of water. We do not belong. It is not our home. Our home is elsewhere.

The valley of tears is hostile territory to which we are exiled for a lifetime.

The valley of tears is a mill through which the grist is ground up for a lifetime.

Did the Son of God pitch his tent amongst to us to make our passage through the valley of tears harder or to make our passage easier? When he suggested that we deny ourselves, what did he mean?

Suffering is not the problem. The problem is the monstrous dragon that prowls amid the suffering. The dragon tries to drain our hearts of love. Our job as we pass through the valley of tears is not to avoid suffering - to run away from it like a coward. Nor is our job to seek suffering. Our job as we pass through the valley of tears is to slay the dragon that tries to transmogrify us into the most misearable and hideous of loveless beasts as Jesus slayed his. Only when the dragon is slain does our passage through the valley of tears get easier. Only with love in our heart can we pick up our crosses and make progress toward the kingdom of God.

The Son of God suggested that we deny our tendency to let love slip through our fingers - to fumble the ball. He did not pitch his tent amongst us to make our passage through the valley of tears harder. He pitched his tent amongst us to make our passage through the valley of tears easier. One of the purposes of his mission to us was to show us how to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. He demonstrated the solution to the problem of suffering. As we tortured and killed him, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Love, as Shaekespeare said, is twice blest. It blesses both the donor and the beneficiary. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears.

The problem in the eyes of God is not suffering. In the eyes of God, suffering is neither here nor there. The problem in the eyes of God is the monster within us who instructs us to let love slip through our fingers as we pass through the harshness of the valley of tears. God fashioned a solution to address the problem as he sees it. God did not fashion a solution to address the problem as we see it. We want God to extricate us forthwith from the harshness of the valley of tears or to transform the valley of tears into a gentler, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God, on the other hand, wants us to learn the solution to the problem of suffering and apply the solution in our lives. So God lets us run the course, finish the race and complete a lifetime in the valley of tears .

What is worse than suffering?

Is there anything worse than suffering? Yes. A monster lurks amid our suffering. The monster 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 the monster within us. 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 Escape
Through the Valley of Tears

How do I get There from Here?
Who has the Map and Knows the Way?


Do you know the way? Do you have the map? I am lost. I need directions from here to there - from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. Can you help me? Are you going my way? Can I tag along? Can I find the way on my own without help? Who has the map and knows the way? How do I get there from here ?

God built an escape route through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise , 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).

God provides us with a flotilla of lifeboats to evacuate us out of godlessness, ferry us through the valley of tears, and transport us back to our home with God and his holy family in paradise.

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 and set against the hostile desert of godlessness. The beautiful necklace is a gift from the God who loves us - a token of his love.

The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect.

Examples of the lifeboats (a/k/a the holy places that define the escape route) 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 ship of godlessness is sinking. 'Abandon ship!' 'Abandon ship!' 'To the lifeboats!' 'To the lifeboats!' Feel the exigency of the escape! The job of the Church is not to save the ship. The job of the Church is to save the passengers. God does not want us to go down with the sinking ship so he provided a fleet of lifeboats to rescue us - to evacuate us from our dire predicament in godlessness, to ferry us through the valley of tears, and to return us to our home with God and his holy family in paradise. Logistics is the job of the Church - transporting us from here to there - from godlessness to paradise. The Church is the usher who shows us to our seats so God can put on the show. .

Stupidly, instead of making our escape through the valley of tears, we have planted roots deep into it. We have become sessile instead of mobile - settlers instead of pilgrims.

Settlers who have put roots deep into the valley of tears need to become pilgrims passing through it.

Close encounters with the living God take place here on earth in the lifeboats.

God occupies the lifeboats

God provided us with 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. To the lifeboats! To the lifeboats!

To shorten our exile, discover where God has hidden himself here and now in the valley of tears and engage in close encounters with him.

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 transforming godlessness into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. The transformation that God desires is the transformation of godless people not the transformation of the valley of tears through which we pass . Furthermore, God does not plan to immediately extricate us 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 . God's plan requires us to stew for a time in the valley of tears. [Note: The brevity of life proves the mercy of God.] A brief stewing, in God's opinion, is harsh but effective medicine. The experience verifies for us that the serpent was a liar (Genesis 3:5) and that God told us the truth (Genesis 3:3). Moreover, when God delivers the gift of paradise to us, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball as Satan did, the gaggle of angels who follow Satan did, Eve did and Adam did. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we. Instead, 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. The job of the Church is to sound the alarm. If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job.

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 job of the Church is to sound the alarm. If the exigency is not felt, the Church is not doing its job.

 

The Current of Salvation

God rigs the game in our favor. The playing surface is not on the level. It tilts downward from godlessness to paradise. God wants us to hit the jackpot. Our return to our home in paradise with God and his holy family is the jackpot.

The sourness of godlessness is the engine that pushes us to its exit.

The sweetness of paradise is the engine that pulls us to its entrance.

The current of salvation flows from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise.

At the nexus between paradise and godlessness, the great leap from time to eternity is made through the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ.

The current of salvation sweeps us up off of our feet and carries us back to our home with God and his holy family in paradise (except the contrary who perversely swim against it).

The potential difference between the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness drives rational creatures from godlessness to paradise.

 

Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is against their self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

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. It is crazy to do otherwise. The truth sets us free.

Persuasion

To persuade, present the question, its answer and the base on which the answer stands. The degree of certainty with which rational creatures hold onto an answer is directly proportional to the strength of the base on which the answer stands. A weak base means a weak degree of certainity and vice versa. This is how our faculty of rationality works. P.S. An answer without a base is a guess. It is speculation.

Understanding the Passage of the Argument from its Beginning, through its Middle, to its End

The argument passes from its beginning, through its middle, to its end. An argument can be weak or strong. It can contain unstated assumptions. It is important to follow it as it passes from its beginning, through its middle, to its end.

 

The serpent conjured up two illusions that hide the truth from us - one directly and one indirectly. The serpent conjured up an illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of the valley of tears. The serpent conjured up an illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise from us.

Why is it more difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle ? The illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness is thicker for the rich man than for the poor man. Its thickness makes it harder to shatter. The thicker the sugarcoating, the harder the sledgehammer of truth needs to work.

The illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of the valley of tears is a direct illusion conjured up by the lie of the serpent - his empty promise of deification without God in the valley of tears . The illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise is an indirect illusion. It arises as the distance in time and space to the life of Adam and Eve in paradise increases.

So much time had elapsed since Adam and Eve lived with God in paradise that the memory of paradise had faded from the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. So the most Holy Trinity decided that the time was ripe to remind us of the sweetness of paradise. Therefore, the most Holy Trinity sent us a love note. Imagine that! A love note from God to us. It was delivered to us at Bethlehem. It was a most unusual love note. The word of God was not written on dead paper. The word of God was written on life itself. The love note lived and breathed. It was written in the form of a baby born in the most humble of circumstances in the boondocks of time and space. It was inconspicuous, anonymous and remote. By all measures, it ought to have disappeared into the dustbin of history. But it did not. The love note changed the world. What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note.

 

Shattering the Illusions

The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass.

The sourness of the valley of tears is autodidactic. Passing through the valley of tears shatters the illusion that sugarcoats its sourness.

The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God from heaven to earth to shatter the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise.

The illusions distort the landscape of reality . 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 by the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of a hammer shatters glass, the truth becomes visible to us. The serpent's promise of deification in godlessness is exposed as a lie . 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. It is crazy 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).

 

The Effect of Shattering the Illusions

When the illusions are shattered and the truth becomes visible to us, rational creatures ask for directions about how to get there from here - to paradise from godlessness.

When the illusions are shattered, without pausing to pack our bags, we join the quest to discover God .

The Gospel of Rationality

The first stage of the new evangelization deals with the science of how our rationality responds to the truth. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Therefore, shatter the illusions that hide the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness from us. Shatter the illusions with the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of the hammer shatters glass. The truth sets us free .

 

Who Will Rescue Us from Our Dire Predicament in the Valley of Tears?

Who will rescue us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears? Who will save us?

The most Holy Trinity sent the Son of God to rescue us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears.

 

What is God's Rescue Plan?

What is God's rescue plan? How does God plan to save us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears?

The moment that Adam and Eve crossed the threshold between paradise and the valley of tears the process of draining the serpent's lie of its power to deceive started. The process continues during each of our lifetimes.

God presented Adam and Eve with the gift of paradise twice. The first time, God gave them the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously. The second time, God gave them the gift of paradise after the process of draining the lie of the serpent of its power to deceive was completed. In between, they fumbled the ball - they let the gift of paradise slip through their fingers.

Will the prodigal Son ever return to the pig sty?

The prodigal son will never return to the pig sty and neither will we. The experience makes us know better.

What is the Best Way to Lance the Boil?

What is the best way to lance the boil? What is the best way to drain the serpent's lie of its power to deceive? What is the best way to convince us beyond a shadow of a doubt that the serpent's promise that we shall enjoy deification without God in the valley of tears is empty ?

The best way to lance the boil is to let us stew for a lifetime in the valley of tears. Letting us stew is harsh but effective medicine. Its effectiveness is the reason God prescribes it despite its harshness. It drains the lie of its power to deceive. By letting us stew, we acquire a reservoir of personal experience with the valley of tears by which we can evaluate for ourselves the truth of what the serpent tells us about it. Furthermore, it innoculates us against Post Delivery Paradise Opt Out (PDPOO). When God delivers to us the gift of paradise, we will keep it. We will not fumble the ball as Eve did, as Adam did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did and as Lucifer did. Hint: the prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we.

God lets us put our fingers into the flame. Why? The testimony of the serpent is that a life lived in the flame is superior to a life lived with God and his holy family in paradise . God wants to drain from the testimony of the serpent its power to deceive. Is there any better way to defang the lie than this? It is harsh but effective medicine.

God mitigated the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears by making it short. 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.

Mitigating the Harshness of God's Rescue Plan

Letting us stew is harsh but effective medicine. To mitigate the harshness of God's rescue plan, God provides us with strategies to mitigate its harshness including but not limited to

(1) making life in the valley of tears brief,

(2) supplying us with grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears,

(3) etc..

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.

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.

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. [Note: Acceptance is by repentance.]

Beware the skeptics who underestimate the generosity of God!

Oh Lord, Why do you delay?

Why does God not immediately extricate us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears? Why does God not transform the valley of tears into a nicer, more hospitable place for godless people to live? Why does God delay our rescue from the valley of tears? Why does God let us stew in the valley of tears for a lifetime?

How Do We Prevent the Children of Adam and Eve from Fumbling the Ball (Original Sin)?

How do we prevent the children of Adam and Eve from funbling the ball? How do we stop them from fumbling the gift of paradise - from letting the gift of paradise slip through their fingers - after the gift of paradise is delivered to them as Satan did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Satan did, as Eve did and as Adam did? How do we make the gift of paradise stick without having to turn paradise into a prison, God into a warden and the children of Adam and Eve into prisoners. Isn't a cage a cage no matter how gilded? How can we prevent the children of Adam and Eve from repeating the original sin of their parents? What stops fumbling the ball from happening? How does God dissuade the children of Adam and Eve from opting out of paradise for godlessness as Adam and Eve did.

How Do We Persuade the Children of Adam and Eve that the Serpent is a Liar and that God tells them the Truth?

How do we persuade the children of Adam and Eve that the serpent is a liar and that God is telling us the truth? How do we resolve the conflict in the testimony - the testimony of God versus the testimony of the serpent?

Between the delivery of the gift of life and the delivery of the gift of paradise, God inserted a delay. God gave the gift of life and the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve simultaneously. But with regard to the children of Adam and Eve, God inserted a delay between the two gifts. The delay lasts a lifetime. The brevity of life proves the mercy of God. The delay is harsh but effective medicine. The delay reduces the likelihood that the children of Adam and Eve will abdicate paradise for godlessness and, thus, repeat the original sin of their parents. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither are we.

How do we protect the children of Adam and Eve against the lie of the serpent? We expose them to the truth. Personal experience with the truth in the valley of tears destroys the power of the lie to deceive.

Once the power of the lie to deceive is destroyed, there is no reason to delay any longer the delivery of the gift of paradise.

Let them stew in the sourness of godlessness for a lifetime. It is harsh but effective medicine. A lifetime in the sourness of godlessness proves that the serpent told us a lie and that God told us the truth. It resolves the conflict in the testimony - versus . Moreover, when we deliver to them the gift of paradise, they will keep it. They will not fumble the ball. The prodigal son is never going back to the pig sty and neither will the children of Adam and Eve after a lifetime in the sourness of godlessness. A lifetime of personal experience in the sourness of godlessness will make the difference. The truth will set them free from the illusion conjured up by the serpent that sugarcoats the sourness of the valley of tears.

Let the children of man have what they want and what the serpent promised : godlessness in the valley of tears. They shall taste for themselves the emptiness of the serpent's promise. But let us limit their dire predicament to just a lifetime.

The brevity of life proves the mercy of God.

Letting us stew for a lifetime in the valley of tears generates all of the complaints about God's rescue plan (General Audience Pope Francis 28 Dec 2016). The harshness of the valley of tears keeps the complaint department of paradise busy. More than a few have cursed their bitter experience in the valley of tears and waved 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 against God.

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. A cage is a cage no matter how gilded. 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.

The Delay Inserted Between the Gift of Life and the Gift of Paradise

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.

The Sweetness of Paradise

What is the Sweetness of Paradise?

What is the sweetness of paradise? What is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet?

The sweetness of paradise is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive.

His power made paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet.

The sweetness of paradise mitigates the harshness of the valley of tears. It dilutes the harshness.

Why did Jesus Enter into the Collision with the Freight Train of Evil that We Launched against Him? Why didn't He Just Step Out of the Way?

There are multiple reasons:

1) The conventional Christian answer is to save us from our sins. He ransomed us for our sins

2) The magnitude of the evil we did to him showed us the magnitude of his love for us

3) The survival of his love for us showed us that the duration of his love for us is indestructible.

His love for us is the ingredient that makes paradise sweet. It is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

He is not recommending suffering to us. Jesus is not a sadist. He is recommending that we resist suffering with love. Love enables us to pick up our crosses and carry them so they do not bury us under their oppressive weight. Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage throug hthe valley of tears.

The Crucifixion is the marker that highlights his love for us. It is the amplifier that makes his love for us louder. It is the magnifier that enlarges his love for us.

 

Our Ignorance of The Sweetness of Paradise

My people are ruined for lack of knowledge . The Cross of Christ has been emptied of its meaning . God has become a stranger to us. Nobody follows a stranger . Therefore, fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the seas .

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.

Conflicts in the Representations We Create of God

 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 of God, we are given a fair and accurate representation of God - an authentic, first-class, high fidelity representation of God whose fidelity is unmatched by the low fidelity representations of God made by human hands. In fact, the low fidelity of human made representations is the reason God banned us from making them in the first place . Better no representation than an inaccurate representation.  All lesser representations of God, therefore, must yield to the representation God gave us in his autobiography.

There are many versions of God. How accurate is your version of God? Is your version up to date? Ot is it antediluvian? Is the version that you are using still God 1.0? If so, it is time to upgrade. Our understanding of God has improved since the Autobiography of God was written.

Articulating the Truth

The Best and Most Accurate Way to Articulate God's Love for Us

It is correct but inadequate to say that God love us. You do a disservice to God when you just say that 'God loves us'. In the Autobiography of God, brutal ugliness was juxtaposed against sublime beauty. We supplied the brutal ugliness (the Crucifixion). The Son of God supplied the sublime beauty (the Resurrection) . The contrast between our ugliness and His beauty highlights and emphasizes and intensifies and magnifies and amplifies and accentuates His beauty. If you leave out our brutal ugliness when you say that 'God loves us', you sacrifice the highlight, the emphasis, the intensification, the magnification, the amplification and the accentuation of his love for us. He did not just love us. He loved us despite the evil that we did to him - the ringer we put him through - the cruel baptism into which we immersed him - the Cross on which we impaled him bloody and alive like a worm on a hook. Now, that is love! The persistence of his love for us is extraordinarily surprising given that we are directly responsible - indefensibly guilty - for the barbaric adversity through which he passed . Wow! Therefore, never forget to include the amplifier. 'The Son of God loves us even though we tortured and killed him' is a superior articulation of God's love for us because it includes the amplifier. A word to the wise is sufficient.

 

The Cross is not Well Understood in Christianity

The Cross is the flag that the most Holy Trinity raised to rally Christians to the Son of God. [Rally 'round the Cross!] Jesus impaled bloody and alive like a worm on a hook hangs from the Cross of Christ. He is the bait that the most Holy Trinity cast into the valley of tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve .  The Cross is the crossroads of salvation .

However, the Cross is not well understood in Christianity.

The Cross holds three gallons of information. Unfortunately, many who contemplate the Cross have only a one gallon tank. 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. One gallon of information is held in the Crucifixion on the near side of the Cross. One gallon of information is held in the Resurrection on the far side of the Cross. One gallon of information is held in the relationship of question and answer that weaves its way through his bloody wounds to connect the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together.

"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" 

Why Body and Blood?

Why body and blood? Why these two parts of himself ? Why not neck and nose instead of body and blood? Why not toe and tongue? Wouldn't the deposit of any one of these - body, blood, neck, nose, toe or tongue - establish the real presence in the bread and wine of the most Holy Eucharist? So why did he deposit his body and his blood? Why not just one? Why not more than two? Does what he deposited even matter? Assume that the almighty God could deposit any part or parts of himself into the vessels of bread and wine of the most Holy Eucharist, why did he pick his body and his blood? Did he pick his body and his blood intentionally for some specific purpose? Or was the deposit of body and blood random, accidental, arbitrary and capricious?

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

The body and blood of the most Holy Eucharist point to his wounds. Through his wounds his blood exited his body.

The good news of great joy was preached to us through his bloody wounds.

His bloody wounds are the mouth of God.

The vocabulary that passed through the mouth of God is limited to three (3) words: 1) his blood, 2) his life and 3) his love for us. Everybody can understand a language whose vocabulary is limited to three words.

Pay attention to the traffic that passed through and, more subtly, did not pass through his bloody wounds.

Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. The traffic testifies to the identity of God.

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" .

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?

His Bloody Wounds are Badges of Credibility

How do We Demonstrate to the Children of Men that God Has Credibility and the Serpent has None?

His bloody wounds are badges of credibility. They are the visible evidence that he is head over heals in love with us. He earned them by loving us. They distinguish him from the serpent who is without them. They are the reason we ought to believe his testimony. A witness who loves us so much will not testify falsely against us . Love and false witness are incompatible .

His Bloody Wounds Distinguish our God from an Impostor

Our God is the God with the bloody wounds . You can tell an impostor because an impostor is without them. Many will pretend to be our God. Make them show you their bloody wounds . When they fail to do so, you will have exposed their fraud. Sanitize God - strip him of his bloody wounds - bowdlerize him of them - and we obscure the sweetness of God with a meaningless, half-baked, and insipid representation of him. Better no representation of God than an inaccurate, distorted representation of him . His bloody wounds are the narrow gate through which we squeeze our contemplation of God to get an understanding of him . His bloody wounds are the badges of his love for us. He earned them by loving us. They are the rainbow of the new covenant. They are the proof that paradise is sweet. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

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.

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.

 

The Greatest Conversation between Humanity and God

What is the Greatest, Most Important Conversation that Ever Took Place between Humanity and God?

What is the greatest, most important conversation that ever took place between humanity and God? What was our question? What was his answer? Hearken to the conversation.

Rest your head on the pillow of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection to sleep the sleep of the angels.

The Relationship of Test and Result ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection Together

The Crucifixion is not independent of the Resurrection. The Resurrection is not independent of the Crucifixion. Contemplating them in isolation individually leads to misunderstanding. It is like trying to figure out how the heart works by only studying its ventricles and not its atria. To understand them, they must be contemplated together. A relationship weaves its way through his bloody wounds that ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. It is the relationship of test and result. 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.

"Who are you?" We shouted our harsh question at him in the Crucifixion. "I am your God who comes to rescue you from your dire predicament in the valley of tears" he whispered his gentle answer to us in the Resurrection.

The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurection is the greatest, most important conversation that humanity has ever had with God. Are you privy to the conversation? You cannot have your own conversation with God unless and until you listen to this conversation.

The segment of the narrative of salvation that passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection is an integral, coherent whole - a conversation. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not independent of each other. There is a connection that unifies them. The connection is the relationship between question and answer. Only connected together do they convey the message that God desired to communicate to us. When the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is severed, the message gets garbled - indecipherably garbled

Until we see the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, we cannot see the disconnection between the evil we did to him and his love for us. The connection reveals the disconnection. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not independent of each. However, the evil we did to him and his love for us are independent of each other.

The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection was a breakthrough in our understanding of God - an earthquake of epiphany - a riot of revelation.

What is surprising about the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection was not the harshness of our question but the gentleness of his answer .

We made war on him. He made love to us.

We tried to set the tone of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection by asking him a harsh question. Our attempt failed. It did not work. He set the tone of the conversation with his gentle answer. We shouted our question at him. He whispered his answer to us .

The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is asymmetric. There is no symmetry in the question and the answer. The ugliness of our question is juxtaposed against the beauty of his answer .

The Conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Ressurection, the evil that we did to him opened bloody wounds in the body of the Son of God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth so the Son of God could speak to us through them. The Crucifixion is one side of a conversation that we had with God. The Resurrection is the others side of the conversation. The entire conversation revolved around his bloody wounds. Pay attention to the traffic through his bloody wounds - to what was said and, more subtly, to what was not said. The vocabulary that passed through his bloody wounds consisted of just three words: 1) his blood, 2) his life and 3) his love for us. Anyone can understand a vocabulary of just three words. We shouted our harsh question at him in the Crucifixion and he whispered his gentle answer to us in the Resurrection. His gentle answer to our harsh question completed the most important conversation that humanity has ever had with God.

'Who are you?' we asked him in the Crucifixion. "Identify yourself!" the sentries of humanity challenged him as he approached our picket line. "Friend or foe?" The Crucifixion was our brutal interrogation of the Son of God. We shouted our harsh question at him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. Our lash, thorns, nails and spear opened bloody wounds in his body. Buckets of blood spilled through them. His very life itself followed his blood through his wounds out of his body. "Tell us who you are" we demanded an answer from him in the Crucifixion.

And he answered our question.

He whispered his answer to our harsh question .

Not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood and his life through his wounds out of his body. 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 despite the evil we did to him. He clung to his love for us with the iron grip of the drowning man who clings to a life preserver when he is tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk.

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 of the power of Jesus. No one emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. Divinity is also love. Both power and love survived the evil we did to him. Jesus is the union of power and love - perfect, infinite and absolute. This was revealed when Jesus spoke to us about himself through his bloody wounds in the language of suffering.

The Hard Question -
the Crucifixion


We asked him a hard question when we launched a freight train of evil against him. It was filled with torture and death. It came barrelling down the tracks at him. It accelerated as it went. The question sought to unmask the mystery that hid from us the identity of Jesus. What was his answer? He could have gotten out of the way. He could have avoided his fate. Instead, he met it head-on. He freely and willingly entered into the collision. The collision was explosive. It was bigger than the big bang. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. And, out of the collision, the truth began to radiate like the dawn of a new day to illuminate the darkness that hid the nature of Jesus from us, to wit, the components of his divinity.

In the Crucifixion, we put Jesus to the test. In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published for us. What were the results of the tests? 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.

The Gentle Answer -
the Resurrection


His gentle answer to the evil we did to him was to continue to love us nonetheless. Our God continues to love us nonetheless despite the bloody wounds we opened in his body - despite the fact that we tortured and killed him. Jesus and his love for us survived the collision with the freight train of evil that we launched against him. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof of the power of Jesus. 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 power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. Divinity is also love. The two components of divinity are power and love. Jesus is the union of power and love - perfect, infinite and absolute. Love gives power a godly purpose. Power without love is diabolical. Power is the source of pride. Love is the source of humility . Power demands respect. But, love demands love. His power built paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

Is there no limit to the power and the love of God ?

P.S.: Therefore, shatter the illusions that hide from us the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness. Shatter them with the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. When the illusions are shattered, rational creatures will ask for directions, 'How do we get there from here - from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise?" Then and only then when we ask for directions is the moment ripe for the Church to say, "We have the map and know the way".

Wait until the fruit is ripe before you harvest it. The fruit only becomes ripe after the illusions that hide from us the sweetness of paradise and the sourness of godlessness are shattered. Ripeness occurs when the fruit start asking for directions from here to there - from godlessness to paradise.

The Most Important Conversation
in the History of Humanity


The most important conversation in the history of humanity is a conversation that we had with Jesus. It took place at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. Are you privy to the conversation? It was not a secret. The conversation occured in public. Furthermore, the conversation was well-witnessed, recorded in the history books and accounts of it were disseminated from then and there across time and space to us here and now. Not only did we ask Jesus a question; we asked Lesus the toughest of questions. Indeed, we put him through the cruelest of interrogations. We put him through the wringer. Our question chewed him up, swallowed him and transported him into the belly of the beast in its effort to get an answer. Our question was filled with evil. It dripped with evil. But, only an answer straight from the horse's mouth would satisfy us. Incredibly, Jesus answered the question. He did not dodge it. He did not sidestep it. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud for the very purpose of answering our question. Despite the presumptuousness of the question and the extreme difficulty of the answer, Jesus freely and willingly answered it. Our question was the Crucifixion. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. The evil we did to him in the Crucifixion was the question we asked Jesus.

What was Jesus's answer to the evil we did to him? Did he answer us in kind - with the same bitter cruelty as our question ? How did Jesus respond to our cruel inquiry?

His answer gave us a deep insight into the nature of God. It opened a window through which we beheld God face-to-face. His answer was the Resurrection. It was a gentle answer without any of the severity of the question. Given the severity of the question, we did not deserve such a gentle answer . Yet, he was gentle with us anyway. His answer to the evil we did to him was to continue to love us nonetheless. We launched a freight train of evil against him. It came barrelling down the tracks at him. It was filled with torture and death. It came barrelling down the tracks at him. It accelerated as it went. He could have gotten out of the way. He could have avoided his fate. Instead, he met it head-on. He freely and willingly entered into the collision. The collision was bigger than the Big Bang. In the collision we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. And, out of the collision, the truth began to radiate like the dawn of a new day to illuminate the darkness that hid the nature of God from us. The truth that emerged from the collision was that both he and his love for us survived the evil we did to him. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof of the power of Jesus. 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 power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. 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 magnitude of the price he paid out of his own pocket to produce 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. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever. His love for us did not just survive a walk in the park or a day at the beach. His love for us survived a much more gruesome ordeal. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. Jesus emerged from the dead with his most sacred heart still filled to the brim with love for the very sinners who tortured and killed him . Even though we tortured and killed him, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to his love for us with the iron grip of the drowning man who clings to a life preserver when he is tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. Buckets of blood spilled from his body through the wounds we opened in it but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us. Would you continue to love me if I tortured you? Would you continue to love me if I killed you? Jesus continued to love us nonetheless even though we tortured and killed him . Is there no limit to the mercy of our God ? Wow!

What effect does the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection have on us? Why did God decide to reveal to us that he is the union of power and love - perfect, infinite and absolute - in such a dramatic, unambiguous and definitive fashion? Does the reading and understanding of the conversation not strengthen our faith and give us reason to hope? Is not the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection a game-changer? Does the conversation not shift the paradigm? Does it not alter the trajectory through life of anyone who listens to it and understands it? Wow! What a God is our God! Our God is the God with the bloody wounds who continued to love us even though we tortured and killed him! Again, wow!

P.S. We exercised our power not our love. He exercised his love not his power. He practiced what he preached . That Jesus did not exercise his power against us in response to our excercise of power against him tells us which aspect of divinity is more important. God is the union of power and love for us - perfect, infinite and absolute. Both power and love are aspects of divinity. Love, however, is more important than power. The right move is to love. He filled the space he occupied with love. For the solution to the problem of evil look to love not to power. Why? That is where Jesus found the solution.

Kibitzing with God

What is surprising about the conversation was not the harshness of our question but the gentleness of his answer .

Are you privy to the conversation? The Crucifixion (our harsh question) and the Resurrection (his gentle answer) are the two sides of the greatest conversation between God and humanity in the history of salvation! The conversation was a breakthrough in our understanding of God - an earthquake of epiphany - a riot of revelation. What is surprising about the conversation was not the harshness of our question but the gentleness of his answer. Given the harshness of the question, his gentle answer is breathtaking. His gentle answer is the good news of great joy. Given the harshness of our question, his gentle answer is very good news for us indeed. We tried to set the tone of the conversation by asking him a harsh question. Our attempt failed. It did not work. He set the tone of the conversation with his gentle answer. The very juxtaposition of our harsh question and his gentle answer conveyed meaning. The juxtaposition conveyed the identity of God himself. Our harsh question amplifies his gentle answer - it highlights it. In the conversation, we are presented with a high fidelity representation of God. The conversation is the latest, most up-to-date version of our understanding of God. Are you privy to it?

The Eagle of Salvation is the Cross of Christ

The eagle of salvation is the Cross of Christ. It has two wings. It needs both of them to fly. One wing is called the Crucifixion. The other wing is called the Resurrection. The two wings do not flap independently of each other. They flap in unison with each other. They are connected by a backbone. The backbone is the relationship of question and answer. The Crucifixion is the harsh question that we asked Jesus. The Resurrection is his gentle answer. In the Crucifixion, we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Our question to Jesus was both presumptuous and dramatic. His answer to the question was incredible - breathtaking. Jesus answered the evil we did to him in the Crucifixion 1) by rising from the dead and 2) by continuing to love us nonetheless. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the proof of the power of Jesus. No one emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. Divinity is also love. Jesus is the union of power and love - perfect, infinite and absolute. Power demands respect. But, love demands love. His power built paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Therefore, mount the saddle of your faith upon the eagle of salvation and fly on it through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise .

P.S. We cannot duplicate his power but we can duplicate his love. By duplicating his love, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God . We refuse to let life's viscissitudes transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. We achieve deification when he cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. We fail in our quest for deification when we seek power instead of love. Power unalloyed with love is diabolical.

What is the Starting Point for the Journey to an Understanding of God?

Where do we begin? What is the starting point for the journey to an understanding of God? The starting point for the journey to an understanding of God is the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection - our harsh question and his gentle answer. In the course of the conversation, the love note and the invitation were rewritten in the ink of suffering to demonstrate their indestrucibility. Are you privy to the conversation? It was a breakthrough in our understanding of God - an earthquake of epiphany - a riot of revelation. The conversation revealed the sweetness of paradise. Always start there. Others will suggest other starting points. Don't be seduced to a different starting point. The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the anchor for our thinking about God. How do we get there from here - from ignorance to knowledge about God? The only way to get there from here is to start at the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Why start at the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection? Because it is the Autobiography of God. It is the truth straight from the horse's mouth. Listen first to what Jesus said about himself before you listen to what others have said about him. The narrative of salvation passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection. Pay close attention to this segment of the narrative of salvation. It is the most important part. It is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum.

..."There were several roads near by, but it did not take Dorothy long to find the one paved with yellow bricks. Within a short time she was walking briskly toward the Emerald City; her Silver Shoes tinkling merrily on the hard, yellow road-bed ". (An excerpt from the third chapter of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy sets off to see the Wizard)

The greatest conversation between humanity and God was not spoken in words but done in deeds and the deeds were connected together by the relationship of question and answer. The relationship of question and answer weaved its way through his bloody wounds to tie the deeds together. We asked God a harsh question (the Crucifixion). God responded to our harsh question with a gentle answer (the Resurrection). We shouted our question at him. He whispered his answer to us .

Are you privy to the conversation that took place between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection? Until you become privy to the greatest, most important conversation that ever took place between humanity and God, engaging in a conversation with God yourself would not be very enlightening. The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the giant on whose shoulders you must stand in order to continue to converse with God . The conversation was a breakthrough in our understanding of God - an earthquake of epiphany - a riot of revelation. We shouted our harsh question at him. He whispered his gentle answer to us. In the course of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, God disclosed his identity to us - he took off the mask - he stepped in front of the mystery. Significant, meaty details were put on the bare-bones of 'I am who am' during the conversation. Don't jump into the middle of the conversation. Go back to the beginning of the conversation and get yourself up to speed. Catch up by listening to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Our Common Language - the Language of Suffering

Flesh is a tool of persuasion so he became man

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. As a man, he could do what he could not do as God. As a man, he was able to communicate his message to us in the language of suffering. Only as a man was he able to communicate is message to us in the language of suffering. The language of suffering does more than just communicate ideas. It is also a method of persuasion. It generates a high degree of confidence in the truth of the ideas it communicates. As a method of persuasion, the language of suffering is a simple language. Its persuasive 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 of the power of Jesus. No one emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us is the proof that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. Divinity is also love. Both power and love survived the evil we did to him. Jesus is the union of power and love - perfect, infinite and absolute. This was revealed to us when Jesus spoke to us about himself in the language of suffering.

He refused to let the evil we did to him to transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. By clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go, he showed us what God looks like.

He resisted suffering with love. He did not let his Cross crush him under its oppresive weight. Instead, with love he picked it up and carried it.

The language of suffering is the backdoor that God built into our system of communication so God could speak to all of the children of Adam and Eve unambigously.

Gentleness is the Hallmark of God

In the Crucifixion, we asked Jesus a harsh question by torturing and killing him. In the Resurrection, Jesus gave us a gentle answer to our harsh question. We did not deserve a gentle answer but he gave it to us anyway. Even though we tortured and killed him, he continued to love us nonetheless. He did not stop loving us despite the evil we did to him. That he continues to love us nonetheless even though we tortured and killed him imbues his answer to our harsh question with gentleness. The survival of his love for us is the ingredient that makes his answer gentle. Wow! The relationship of question and answer weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. It is important to articulate and highlight the details of the relationship between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection because the juxtaposition of our harsh question and his gentle answer is the very message that the Son of God desired to deliver to us. Leave out the relationship and garble the message. Giving gentle answers to harsh questions as Jesus did as we pass through the valley of tears makes us godlike. It deifies us. Gentleness is the hallmark of divinity.

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

We Failed to Transform God from a Friend into an Enemy. We Tried but Failed. Ergo, His Friendship is Indestructible.

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Try as we might, we failed to transform our God from a friend into an enemy . The evil that we did to him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth did not work. His friendship did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His friendship survived the evil we did to him. 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. Not even our evil can turn it. To our harsh question (the Crucifixion), he gave us a gentle answer (the Resurrection). Oh, blessed failure! Oh, wonderful defeat! That his friendship survived the evil we did to him tells us unequivocably that his friendship is indestructible - his philantropy is steadfast. He put the proof into our hands so we could rely on his indestructible friendship. It is the immutable rock on which we can build our lives. It is the only stable foundation on which a Christian is built. A Christian is built upon the proven, indestructible friendship of God . The indestructible friendship of God as proven by the passage of the narrative of salvation from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum.

Evidence produces proof. The passage of the narrative of salvation from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection is the evidence from which the proof arises that God's friendship is indestructible - his philanthropy endures forever . [Note: the magnitude of the evil we did to him in the Crucifixion is the evidence of the magnitude of his love for us. We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the magnitude of the price he paid out of his own pocket to produce 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 !]

The Autobiography of God

The Autobiography of God is the Treasure Chest that Holds the Greatest, Most Important Conversation That Ever Took Place between Humanity and God in the History of Salvation!

"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" 

Where do we find the knowledge of God? Where is it located? Can you take us there? Much of the most valuable knowledge of God was stored 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.  Get the truth straight from the horse's mouth. Listen first to what the Son of God said about himself in his Autobiography before you listen to what others have said about him elsewhere.

The Autobiography of God is the treasure chest that holds the most valuable knowledge of God . It is the segment of the narrative of salvation that passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection. It is the crux of Chrisitianity. Everything else is obiter dictum. The Autobiography of God consists of just three (3) chapters:

Chapter 1) the Crucifixion (our harsh question),

Chapter 2) the Resurrection (his gentle answer) and

Chapter 3) the Relationship that weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together.

In the middle of the autobiography of God stands the Cross of Christ .  It is surrounded by meaning . Meaning is found in the Crucifixion on its near side, in the Resurrection on its far side and in the relationship that weaves its way through his bloody wounds to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. The Relationship that serves has the hinge that ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together is the relationhip of harsh question (the Crucifixion) and gentle answer (the Resurrection). The Crucifixion was the harsh question that humanity asked their God. In the Resurrection, the gentle answer to our harsh question was published for us. The gentle answer to the harsh question is the good news of great joy. Given the harshness of the question, the gentle answer is very good news for us indeed. The Crucifixion (our harsh question) and the Resurrection (his gentle answer) are the two sides of the greatest conversation that ever took place between God and humanity in the history of salvation! The conversation was a breakthrough in our understanding of God - an earthquake of epiphany - a riot of revelation. What is surprising about the conversation was not the harshness of our question but the gentleness of his answer. Given the harshness of the question, his gentle answer is breathtaking. We tried to set the tone of the conversation by asking him a harsh question. Our attempt failed. It did not work. He set the tone of the conversation with his gentle answer. The very juxtaposition of our harsh question and his gentle answer conveyed meaning. The juxtaposition conveyed the identity of God himself. Our harsh question amplifies his gentle answer - it highlights it. In the conversation, we are presented with a high fidelity representation of God. The conversation is the latest, most up-to-date version of our understanding of God. Are you privy to the conversation?

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. 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? We committed the sin of sins against him. Surely, the evil we did to him irrefutably proved that we are unworthy of his love! Surely, his love for us faded as we tortured him and died 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 bloody and alive 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 do not want us to limit our scrutiny of the narrative of salvation to only the Crucifixion. This is too narrow of a focus. The full meaning of the narrative of salvation cannot be acquired by isolating the Crucifixion from the Ressurection from their Connection. The most Holy Trinity want us to scrutinize all three chapters of the autobiography of God together in order to fully understand the narrative of salvation. They want us not to just look at his bloody wounds but also 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 badges of the serpent's defeat not his. 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.

When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we see the Resurrection on their far side. He did not emerge from the blackhole of death empty-handed. In a glorious burst of epiphany, important truths emerged with him that illuminate our understanding of life and of God. These truths radiate from the blackhole of death like the dawn of a new day . 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 of the power of Jesus. 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 power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. 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 magnitude of the price he paid out of his own pocket to produce 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 (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 from his body through the wounds we opened in it. 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.

Wow!

The decoupling of the question and the answer - the Crucifixion and the Ressurection - indecipherably garbles the meaning of this segment of the narrative of salvation generated, ipso facto, by the very juxtaposition of the hard question and gentle answer.

A Weakness in the Catholic Religion

The 18 & 1/2 Minute Gap

The narrative of salvation has weaved its way through the history of humanity since Adam and Eve. The narrative of salvation is God's ineluctable effort to influence and inflect our history turning it in the direction of salvation both individually and collectively. Jesus impaled bloody and alive on the Cross like a worm on the hook is the bait that the most Holy Trinity cast into the valley of tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve. The bait is offered to everyone, saint and sinner alike. However, not all fish take the bait. Only a few take the bait hook, line and sinker. The narrative of salvation can be divided into segments. Its most important segment passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East during a period of just few days more than two thousand years ago. This segment is the crux of Christianity. Everything else is obiter dictum. Furthermore, this segment is so important that the Catholic religion represents it whenever a priest celebrates a Mass. His body and his blood point us to his bloody wounds. On the near side of his bloody wounds is the Crucifixion and on the far side is the Resurrection. The Mass is all about the segment of salvation history that passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection. Furthermore, this segment of salvation history is highlighted by the Catholic religion during Holy Week. God does not want the multitude of humanity to forget it so he has his Church highlight it. However, there is a technical problem in the representations that the Catholic religion produces. There is a gap. In its representations, the Catholic religion omits the connection that ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. Assume that the passage of the narrative of salvation from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection is the Autobiography of God. Assume further that the Autobiography of God consists of three chapters. The subject of Chapter1 is the Crucifixion. The subject of Chapter 3 is the Resurrection. Chapter 2 deals with the connection that ties the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together. It is a most important chapter. Yet, the Catholic religion leaves out Chapter 2. Who ripped out Chapter 2 from the Autobiography of God? Who desecrated the Autobiography of God? The ommission is a glaring weakness of the Catholic religion. Why does the Catholic religion not articulate and highlight the details of the connection between the Crucifixion and the Ressurection?

The segment of the narrative of salvation that passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection is an integral, coherent whole. Yet, the Catholic religions treats the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as though the two events are independent of each other without any connection whatsoever. Only connected together do they convey the message that God desired to communicate to us during his visit to us. When the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is severed, the message that God is trying to convey to us gets garbled - indecipherably garbled.

Am I correct? You can verify for yourself whether my allegation about a weakness in the Catholic religion is true or false by trying to articulate the details of the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. If you can, I am mistaken. If you cannot, I am correct.

Crucifixion < - > Question and Answer < - > Resurection

 

God is love who manifests himself in various forms in accordance with our needs.

God rewrote his message of love in the ink of suffering to guarantee the genuineness of the message.

The Love Note, the Invitation and their Verification

At Bethlehem, the most Holy Trinity hand delivered to us two gifts:

1) a love note and
2) an invitation.

He was the love note and the invitation . At Bethlehem, the God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands hand delivered to us a love note and an invitation by putting himself into the hands and at the mercy of the mud.

What type of literature is the Word of God? The Word of God is a love note.

The invitation was to return to our home in paradise with him and his holy family to live happily ever after. He promises us a happy, fairy tale ending to our harsh passage through the valley of tears. The journey is difficult but the destination is wonderful .

The generosity of God, however, did not stop at Bethlehem. It was not limited to these two gifts. At Calvary, the Son of God delivered to us a third gift:

3) Verification.

The three great gifts that God gave us 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 were:

1) a love note
2) an invitation and
3) their verification.

He put into our hands the proof that the love note and the invitation were genuine. How? He rewrote them in the ink of suffering. By rewriting them in the ink of suffering, he revealed to us the secret of their duration - he guaranteed their intransigence - he demonstrated their persistence - he proved their indestructibility.

The evil that we did to him in the Crucifixion gave him good and sufficient reason to tear up the love note and revoke the invitation. Yet, he did not tear up the love note. He did not revoke the invitation. He clung to his love for us, held tight, refused to let go and he kept the invitation on the table . The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Morevoer, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even our evil can turn it. His generosity was unaffected by the evil we did to him. The evil we did to him did not box in his generosity in any way, shape or form. It did not circumscribe his generosity. It did not limit it. We can be sure of his love for us and that we are welcome to come back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise because the love note and the invitation survived the evil that we did to him - the ringer we put him through - the cruel baptism into which we immersed him - the Cross on which we impaled him bloody and alive like a worm on a hook. Their survival is the proof of genuineness. Their survival is the certificate of authenticity. Their survival is their verification. The evil that we did to him ought to have rendered us ineligible for his gifts. It ought to have disqualified us. It ought to have placed us on his shit list. But it did not. God is still offering his gifts to us. God still loves us and wants us to come back home to paradise . What say you? Do you accept? [Note: Acceptance is by repentance.]

The purpose of the evil we did to him was not to show us our wretchedness but to highlight and to emphasize and to intensify and to magnify and to amplify and to accentuate the indestructibllity of his love for us. The focus is on him not on us. We asked him the harsh question (the Crucifixion). He gave us his gentle answer (the Resurrection). The conversation was a breakthrough in our understanding of God - an earthquake of epiphany - a riot of revelation. What was surprising about the conversation was not our question but his answer.

The hen is putting the food directly into the mouths of her chicks in the nest - beak to beak. To survive, all the chicks need to do is to swallow the food and not spit it out.

The Word of God rewrote the love note and the invitation in the ink of suffering to prove that the two gifts he is offering to us are genuine - that salvation is real. The ink of suffering testifies to the fact that salvation is not just a silly fantasy. Our salvation is serious business and, in the estimation of our God, we are worth the extravagant price he paid out of his own pocket to achieve it. By rewriting the love note and the invitation in the ink of suffering, the Word of God showed us that they are indestructible. The two gifts continue to be offered to us despite the evil we did to him. The love note was not torn to shreds and the invitation was not taken off the table. 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. Not even our evil can turn it .

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. The valley of tears sucks. Our predicament in the valley of tears is dire. Therefore, the Word of God rewrote the love note by transforming it into an invitation to come back to our home with God and his holy family in paradise. A new exodus served by the new Moses, the Church, is making its escape through the valley of tears from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. We are invited to join the new exodus. We are invited to make our escape.

 

What Emerged from the Evil We Did to Him and What Did Not?

Why didn't the evil we did to him piss him off?

Why didn't the evil we did put us on his shit list?

Why didn't the bomb explode after its fuse was lit?

Why didn't the evil we did to him disqualify us as beneficiaries of his gifts - make us ineligible?

Why didn't the evil we did to him incite him to rip into shreds the love note that the most Holy Trinity sent to us at Bethlehem?

Why didn't the evil we did to him incite him to revoke the invitation to return to our home with him and his holy family in paradise?

Why didn't the evil we did to him shatter into bits and pieces any resemblance that he bore to God?

Why didn't the evil we did to him transmogrify him into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts?

Why didn't the evil we did to him poke a hole into his most sacred heart and emptied it of his love for us?

Why didn't the evil we did to him extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart?

Why didn't the evil we did to him trap him in the blackhole of death?

Why didn't the evil we did to him sever the connection between our repentance for sins and his forgiveness - it ought to have made sin more powerful than repentance - it ought to have made repentance impossible.

His reaction to the evil we did to him was, by our standards, illogical - counterintuitive - surprising - unexpected - kind. What ought to have happened did not.

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.


Even though we tortured and killed him, he continued to love us nonethelsss.

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moroever, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could turn it.

We lit the fuse. But the bomb did not explode. It was a dud.

We tried but failed to turn a friend into an enemy.

The evil we did to him besieged his love for us. Yet, he never surrendered it to our evil. He resisted the siege. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to his love for us with the iron grip of the drowning man who clings to a life preserver when tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk.

To show us his power, he emerged from the dead still alive. Nobody emerges from the dead still alive. He did.

To show us the indestructibility of his love for us, he emerged from the dead still in love with us. His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil we did to him.

To show us the magnitude of his love for us, he paid the extravagant cost for the production of the Crucifixion out of his own pocket. 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 !

 

The Saddle of Faith

On What, in Particular, Do You Mount the Saddle of Your Faith and Ride Through the Valley of Tears?

On what do you mount the saddle of your faith? What transports you through the valley of tears from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise? Do you mount the saddle of your faith on anything in particular?

Mount the saddle of your faith on the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection and ride it on your journey through the valley of tears from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise.

There is one thing that the almighty God cannot do. He cannot preach to us through bloody wounds. Only a man can. So God took flesh. He became a man - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering.

 

The Good News Of Great Joy

The Good News of Great Joy

In the narrative of salvation that passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds , to the Resurrection, Jesus revealed to us a fair and accurate representation of God. Jesus unmasked the mystery of God and, in doing so, revealed to us God's true identity . The good news of great joy is a byproduct of the revelation. Jesus's unmasking of the mystery of God produced good news of great joy with regard to death, suffering and sin.

The Good News of Great Joy is this: 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 did not stop loving us. He continued to love us nonetheless. Why didn't his love for us fade as we tortured him? Why didn't his love for us die when we killed him? This is the great mystery whose stewardship God entrusted to his Church .

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. Is it in your pocket? Or is your pocket empty? When a beggar who hungers and thirsts for God accosts you, what do you pull out of your pocket to give him? Jesus deposited good news of great joy with the Church with regard to death, suffering and sin. Do you have the words?

"Who are you?" We shouted our harsh question at him in the Crucifixion. "I am your God who comes to rescue you from your dire predicament in the valley of tears" he whispered his gentle answer to us in the Resurrection. The good news of great joy with regard to death is that he will help us pass through it. The good news of great joy with regard to life is that he showed us that maintaining our grip on love is the grease that lubricates our passage through the valley of tears. The good news of great joy with regard to sin is that he recognizes our repentance. He showed us the passage through death, through life and through sin . Accept the gifts he is offering you. Acceptance is by repentance.

 

The Good News Of Great Joy with Regard to Suffering

The Good News of Great Joy is that Jesus transported from heaven to earth the solution to the problem of suffering and demonstrated that the solution works by using it himself as he passed through the valley of tears.

The Good News of Great Joy is that love kicks suffering's ass.

When you Hang as Jesus Hung, Cling as Jesus Clung, and Love as Jesus Loved

The Good News of Great Joy with Regard to Suffering

The good news of great joy is that the sighs, mourning and weeping  generated by our harsh passage through the valley of tears left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. In the fullness of time, the most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God on a mission of mercy to humanity. Jesus transported from heaven to earth a solution to the problem of suffering and demonstrated that the solution works by using it himself. The most Holy Trinity hoped that a successful demonstration of the solution to the problem of suffering 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. Jesus 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, when we hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung and love as Jesus loved. 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. 

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


Love kicks suffering's ass.

Our passage through the valley of tears is not easy. The valley of tears sucks. Our predicament in the valley of tears is dire. The Son of God intruded into human history to rescue us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. He did not come to make our passage through the valley of tears harder. He came to make our passage through the valley of tears easier. As he hung from the Cross, he taught us that our passage through the valley of tears becomes easier when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Love is the grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love turns us into superman able to pick up and carry our crosses through the valley of tears so we can continue to make progress toward paradise. Without love in our hearts, our crosses crush us under their oppressive weight. By clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God. We decline to allow suffering to transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. Jesus brought the technology of applying love to suffering from heaven to earth when he paid us a visit. To show us that it works, he used the technology himself as he hung from the Cross. The technology of applying love to suffering is the good news of great joy with regard to suffering. He also transported from heaven to earth good news of great joy with regard to death and sin. But that is another story. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, suffering's invincible foe.

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.

Maintaining the Resemblance We Bear To God

During our passage through the valley of tears, we encounter adversity and prosperity. Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, successes and failures. Maintaining our resemblance to God 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. The greater the love we bear in our hearts, the greater the resemblance we bear to God . Parents, teach your children to love . Warn them that the viscissitudes of life will try to transmogrify them into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. Tell them to resist. 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.

P.S. What is the difference between God and the serpent? God is power with love. The serpent is power without love. Power without love is diabolical. Power with love is divine. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can maintain the resemblance we bear to God by clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go. Alternatively, we can let our passage through the valley of tears transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can resemble God or the serpent. This is our choice. This is the great choice that faces us as we pass through the valley of tears. This is the only thing that matters.

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.

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." .

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.

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

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.

Our Passage 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, Shakespeare understood this insight - the mutual benefit of love - and articulated it with mighty words. 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. It is crazy to do otherwise. However, the monster within us called “self” casts an illusion that hides from us the mutual benefits of love. That is why Jesus taught us that we must deny ourselves, reject "self" and see through the illusion to the reality it hides. In love we thrive. Without love we wither. Our success in life is measured by the yardstick of love.

Resistance

Resist suffering with love.

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.

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 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.

The Good News Of Great Joy with Regard to Death

What is the Good News of Great Joy with respect to Death?

What is the good news of great joy with respect to death?

The Black Hole of Death

The Good News of Great Joy with regard to Death

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. We ignominiously stuffed him into the black hole of death. Nobody who enters the blackhole of death exits it alive. He did. Does not his emergence alive from the dead tell us something significant about the power of Jesus? Does an ordinary, mortal man have the power to escape from the dead? No. Ergo, Jesus was not an ordinary, mortal man. He was something else - something more.

Furthermore, he did not exit the black hole of death empty-handed. He smuggled out a gift. It was a precious gift. We are the unworthy beneficiaries of his gift given the evil we did to him. What was the gift that emerged with him from the black hole of death? The gift was his love for us. He did not stop loving us even though we tortured and killed him. He continued to love us nonetheless. His love for us stopped him from tearing the love note to shreds and stopped him from taking the invitation to come back to our home with him and his holy family off of the table. Does this not tell us that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is more than power. Divinity is also love.

In fact, divinity is head over heals in love with us.

We get a sense of the magnitude of his love for us by the magnitude of the price he paid out of his own pocket to produce 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. It survived. Its survival is the proof that the duration of his love for us is forever. His love for us, like marriage, is indissoluble.

A glorious burst of epiphany accompanied his emergence from the dead. His love for us emerged with him from the dead like the dawn of a new day . It illuminated the nature of God. Our God is still alive and still in love with us despite the evil we did to him. His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him. How is this possible ? We impaled him on a tree bloody and alive with the same insouciance as the fisherman who impales a worm on a hook yet his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Buckets of blood spilled through the wounds we opened in his body but not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us. Who is this God who clings to his love for us, holds tight and refuses to let go ? We did everything in our power to extinguish his love for us that burns like a bonfire in his most sacred heart. We not only failed to extinguish it, we failed to reduce it by even the slightest degree. 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.

Wow!

His power made paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that draws the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the surness of godlessness. It is contrary to their self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise.

Imagine the parable of the good Samaritan differently. Imagine the half dead man, wounded and stripped of his raimant as he went down from Jerusalem offering the gift of his love to the thieves. Thus you will understand the audaciousness of what Jesus is doing with us.

Rocket Man

The Good News of Great Joy with regard to Death

Death is the launchpad from which we make the great leap from time into eternity . Jesus impaled bloody and alive like a worm on a hook was hung from the gantry of the launchpad. There he died. His death initiated the countdown . Liftoff followed ignition. From the launchpad, he ascended like a shooting star into the night sky. He streaked through the darkness to illuminate our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. At the point of emergence from the blackhole of death, truth started to radiate like the dawn of a new day . Jesus did not exit the blackhole of death empty-handed. Important truths exited with him. Our job is to read and study the glorius truths that emerged with Jesus from the blackhole of death. Christians are scientists whose mission is to discover the truth about life and about God. The holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise are the laboratories at which our scientific investigation takes place. At the laboratories, we find both God and the Church. The Church is the usher who shows us to our seats so God can put on the show. God, not the Church, is the star of the show.

P.S. All mortals know that death has an entrance. But, does it have an exit? We can get in but, after we enter, can we get out? Is death a trap? By emerging from it, Jesus showed us that death has an exit as well as an entrance . Jesus found the exit. Can you? Do you think you will be able to find the exit from death on your own without his help ? Prudence suggests that we make our reservation with him now for our trip through death before it is too late and we get shut out . The good news of great joy with regard to death is that death is not a trap. Death has an exit as well as an entrance . We can find it and pass through it with God's help.

What is My Pension Worth?

The Good News of Great Joy with regard to Death

What is my pension worth? My pension is a friendship with God. You tell me what it is worth. Let me tell you this: the closer I get to the hour of death, the more valuable my pension is worth.

The Good News of Great Joy With Regard to Sin

The Scope of God's Love Includes Sinners

The Good News of Great Joy with regard to Sin

That sinners are included in the scope of God's love upsets the saints. It always has and always will . The sanctimonious are way more parsimonious with God's love than God is - preferring to be conservative with it than liberal. The serpent also raised the unworthiness argument in his bid to empty God's most sacred heart of his love for us. Jesus repudiated the unworthiness argument by emerging from the dead with his heart still full to the brim with love for the sinners who tortured and killed him . Yet, the echoes of the unworthiness argument are still heard today because we cannot get our minds around the fact that God's love for sinners is unconditional. We still think that we must earn the gift of God's love. His love is given freely. There is nothing to earn. God is not conservative with his love for us. God is liberal with it.

Repentance

Why does God want us to repent? The God with the bloody wounds whom we tortured and killed offers us real food and drink . The impostors who pretend to be god offer us cotton candy. We cannot survive on a diet of cotton candy. It is in our best interest to avoid the cotton candy. How can we recognize an impostor? An impostor does not have the bloody wounds. Our God earned his bloody wounds by loving us. His bloody wounds are the badges that remind us that his love for us survived the evil we did to him. Sanitize God - strip him of his bloody wounds - bowdlerize him of them and you distort the fair and accurate representation of himself that God gave to us in the narrative of salvation that passed from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection. Better no representation of him than a distorted and inaccurate representation .

 

The Greater Miracle

What was the Greater Miracle?

What was the greater miracle? Emerging from the dead still alive or emerging from the dead still in love with us?

His rising from the dead was indeed a miracle - a spectacular, nonpareil display of the awesome power of God. Nobody rises from the dead. He did. Death was a wall without a way to pass through it - a dead end. The good news of great joy with regard to death is that Jesus opened the door through the wall of death, passed through it himself and invited us to follow him through the door back to our home with him and his holy family in paradise . It is hard to imagine the performance of a greater and more diificult miracle than rising from the dead.

Yet, the Son of God performed another miracle whose glory surpassed the glory of his victory over death!

We are born in the image and likeness of God . The greater the love we bear in our hearts, the greater the resemblance we bear to God. Our success as we pass through the valley of tears is measured by the degree we maintain our resemblance to God. Unfortunately, an enemy tries to thwart us - tries to prevent us from achieving success. The enemy is a fell monster that resides within us. Some call this fell monster "self". The fell monster within us has the power to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts - the power to destroy any and all resemblance that we bear to God - the power to squeeze the last drop of love out of our hearts as water is squeezed out of a sponge - the power to destroy the kingdom of God that is within us . The fell monster evolved within us as part of our natural, flght-or-flight instinct . The monster instructs us to cease and desist from loving the enemies who do evil against us. The advice is seductive. It seems rational to release our grip on love. But it is not. It is the wrong response when evil is inflicted upon us. Indeed, disregarding the advice and instruction of the fell monster within us is not easy. It is counter-intuitive to cling to love, hold tight and not let go when our enemies do evil against us. It feels wrong. It seems irrational. Our self-interest seems to demand that we release our grip on love. But this "feeling" is steering us in the wrong direction - in a direction that is contrary to our self-interest. So Jesus slew the monster within him. He denied his very self . As Shakespeare said, love "is twice blest: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes" . Love benefits both its source and its recipient. Love is the aspect of divinity that we must seek first . Love is the kingdom of God that is within us. Love is the treasure buried in the field. Sell everything even your very life to acquire it . The glory of his victory over the fell monster within him outshines the glory of his victory over death. Live Jesus in our hearts! Forever!

All "gods" are expected to have the power to rise from the dead. If their power were smaller than death's, we wouldn't consider them "gods". But what "god" besides our God is head over heals in love with us? Rising from the dead is child's play compared to the impossible feat of continuing to love us nonetheless even though we tortured and killed him. His love for us makes our God unique. It is the good news of great joy. Because his love for us survived the evil that we did to him - the ringer we put him through - the cruel baptism into which we immersed him - the Cross on which we impaled him bloody and alive like a worm on a hook, his love for us was proven reliable. We can depend on it. Its reliability makes it the suitable foundation upon which we can build our lives . Don't just take the word of the Word of God for it. The irrefutable proof is found in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Build your lives on the love of God. It is the reliable foundation on which to build your lives. Proof of reliability is found in the conversation that took place between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection - the greatest and most important conversation that humanity has ever had with God.

How do We Build Our Lives on the Foundation of His Love for Us?

How do we build our lives on the foundation of his love for us? How is it done? How?

When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, and love as Jesus loved . Follow him.

He refused to let the evil we did to him to transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. By clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go, he showed us what God looks like .

 

Communities of Love

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

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.

 

The Sign of the Cross is a Baby Step to God

A genuinely made Sign of the Cross “makes all hell tremble.” — St. John Vianney. You may be too busy to go to Mass or to Confession. You may not have enough time to say the Rosary. But what is your excuse for not making a meaningful Sign of the Cross? You make a Sign of the Cross meaningful by contemplating his bloody wounds to which you point with each gesture of the Sign of the Cross - to the bloody wounds in his head, his feet, his right arm, his left arm and his side. His bloody wounds are the narrow gate through which we squeeze our contemplation of God to acquire knowledge of him. The Sign of the Cross is a miniature of the Autobiography of God.

 

Mass

At Mass we do not just read the Autobiography of God. We relive it. The Mass is a time machine that transports the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them from then and there to us here and now. The Mass is advanced technology.

The Mass derives its value from the Cross - from the bloody wounds that we opened in his body. No bloody wounds; no Mass.

Which is the superior form of worship? The Mass or Eucharistic Adoration?

The Mass is a superior form of worship than Eucharistic adoration because the Son of God used his body and blood to point us to his wounds. The Mass is about more than his real presence in the bread ond wine of the most Holy Eucharist. The Son of God points to his bloody wounds to remind us to contemplate the story that unfolded on their near side, the story that unfolded on their far side and the relationship of question and answer that weaves it way through his bloody wounds to tie both sides together. Needless to say, adoration before the most Holy Eucharist is also an acceptable form of worship if the risk that it may not remind us of his bloody wounds is taken into the account.

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. His power made paradise. His love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power demands respect. But love demands love. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive. Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlesness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. When fueled by the truth, our rationality steeers us in the right direction. Therefore, when you are in the business of selling jelly donuts, make sure you do not leave the jelly out.

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. 

 

God's Sense of Humor

Ours is the God with a sense of humor! How can we not be attracted to a God with a sense of humor ? In Revelation 3:20, God gave us the paradigm for the knock-knock joke.  How cool is that? Furthermore, behold the role that God assigned food to play in our fall and in our rise. We ate our way into trouble with a snack (the apple). Would it not, therefore, be appropriate if we could eat our way out of trouble with a snack? Indeed, we eat our way out of trouble with the bread and wine of the most Holy Eucharist.  The symmetry of the snack by which we get into and out of trouble is so perfect - the role of food in our rise and fall is so frivolous - that it can only be the work of God. No mere mortal could write such a comedy. No one would believe it. Dinner is ready. Supper is on the table. Dilly-dally no longer. All is well. Let's eat.

 

Where Transformation Takes Place

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. The Church does not transform sinners. 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. If the goal is to transform sinners into saints, it is counter-productive to keep sinners from the holy places.

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 Church has all of the Answers but None of the Questions

The Church has all of the answers but none of the questions. The answers belong to the Church but the questions belong to the multitude. What good is a Church with all of the answers and a multitude without any questions? A business with a warehouse full of great merchandise but without any customers is a failure. So, too, a Church. The Church has not paid the proper attention to supply and demand. Too much emphasis has been given to the supply and too little emphasis has been given to the demand. As a result, the beautiful, symbiotic dance between question and answer is dead. The multitude no longer ask life's most important questions. In its misguided effort to raise a docile multitude, the Church has raised a multitude who pass through the valley of tears questionless. Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get from here to there - from godlessness to paradise? Who knows the way? Not asked. This is the problem. How do we fix it? How do we inspire curiosity in the multitude about life's most important questions? The first step in the process of conversion is to stimulate the multitude to ask the right questions. Until then, the answers are irrelevant - the magisterium unable to bear any fruit. Now is the time to resuscitate the beautiful, symbiotic dance between question and answer. Now is the time.

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. In fact, it is the Church who has taught us. 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 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.

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?

What is at the Center of the Christian Solar System?

In religion, as in astronomy, there are two schools of thought: 1) the followers of Ptolemy and 2) the followers of Galileo. The followers of Ptolemy put sin at the center of the Christian solar system. To them, Christianity revolves around sin. Sin is the hub and all things Christian are defined in reference to sin. The followers of Galileo deny the Ptolemaic model. The Galileans put the God who loves sinners at the center of the solar system. Like Pluto, sin is a minor, dwarf planet that revolves around something else. It has its place in the Christian solar system but it is not the star. The God who loves sinners is the star. To which school of thought do you subscribe? Beware, however. The same inquisition that persecuted Galileo Galilei will persecute anyone who would try to dethrone sin from the center of the Christian solar system.

There is so much more to Christianity than sin.

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.

Post Script: This is arrogant bullshit. It reflects a medieval not a modern mindset. It epitomizes the zeitgeist of the Church in a different age. It is an anachronism appropriate to a time when the multitude could not read, write or think for themselves. Its arrogance ought to embarass modern day clerics. Did the Second Vatican Council repudiate this pre-conciliar notion of the church as “unequal society” ?

Curiosity is Moribund. Can we Resuscitate it?

Curiosity in God and in the important questions of life is fading. Can we stop and reverse its decline? How can this be done? Who killed it? Did the Church's attempt to fashion a docile multitude extinguish the flame of curiosity in the multitude - snuff it out? The Church holds the opinion that the flow of information is from God, to the Church and then to the multitude. This view destroys the zeitgeist that we are all in this thing together. It divides us into an elite and a multitude . This view creates a mentality of arrogant monologue in the Church. It suffocates dialogue. It has taught the multiude not to ask any questions. The Church has taught the multitude to read, write and think for themselves. Yet, the Church objects when we do so. It is as if the Church is afraid of a questioning multitude. Sad. Questions about life and about God need to be encouraged not discouraged. Christians are scientists whose mission is to discover the truth about God and about life. The Church was put on the earth to assist in our scientific investigation of God and of life. Do your job.

The Great Mistake of the Church

The great mistake of the Church is that it supplies the answers before the questions are asked . The Church has neither respect for nor patience with the multitude . In its glee derived from its association to God, it cannot help itself. F%$@ their questions is its attitude toward the multitude and F%$@ the multitude as well. We have all of the answers. There is no need for any questions. Arrogance. Remember, Church, it is Jesus who has the bloody wounds. You and the serpent are without them.

Donor -> Gift -> Beneficiary

Focus on the donor and the gift not the gift and the beneficiary. What does the gift tell us about the donor? Figure this out. Spending your time trying to figure this out is more rewarding than resenting the beneficiary. Do not resent the good fortune of the beneficiary.

Distill what the Church teaches you. Put the truth into your own words. Thus, you crystallize your understanding. You make the truth your own.

The poet's eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name. (Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V, Scene 1)

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. All we need do is open our hands to receive him. 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 Great Mystery

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 even though we tortured and killed him. With the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk, he clung to the life preserver of love. 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. Like marriage, his love for us is indissoluble . It is available to us whenever we want it - a cornucopia of love that is always available to quench our thirst and to satisfy our hunger. Repent. Turn away from the false gods who do not bear the bloody wounds. They are impostors. They can neither quench our thirst nor satisfy our hunger. Turn to the God with the bloody wounds. Squeeze your contemplation of God through them. They are the narrow gate through which we must pass to arrive at an understanding of God. Jesus impaled on the Cross like a worm on a hook is the way, the truth and the life . Keep this image in the forefront of your mind. Constantly contemplate its meaning. This is the great mystery whose stewardship God entrusted to his Church .

What is the Source of My High Degree of Confidence in Jesus?

Why do I have a high degree of confidence that God is "my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower ? Because I have listened to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the game-changer. It moves me. It shifts the paradigm. It alters the trajectory through life of anyone who listens to it and understands it. His gentle answer to our harsh question unmasked the mystery that hid from us the identity of our God. The conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection is the foundation upon which we can build our lives. It is reliable. We can depend on it. Therefore, mount the saddle of your faith upon the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection and ride it through the valley of tears from godlessness to paradise .

What Drives The Narrative of Salvation?

The narrative of salvation passes from the Crucifixion, through his bloody wounds, to the Resurrection. What drives the narrative of salvation? His love for us drives the narrative of salvation.

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.

The Space You Occupy

Fill the space you occupy with love.