The Dramatic Manner
in Which
God Introduced Himself to Us


A violent collision took place between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him. The collision was bigger than the Big Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider . From the violent collision, truth erupted. The truth was incandescent like a scintillating star shooting across the night sky in a brilliant blaze of dazzling light . Its incandescence illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany .

Can you articulate the truth generated by the violent collision? If not, may I introduce you to it? In the collision, we meet our maker. We make the acquaintance of our God himself.

God poured more and better theology into the violent collision than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live

Listen first to what Jesus said about himself in the violent collision before you listen to what others have said about him elsewhere

In the violence of the collision, the Autobiography of God was written - the Self-Portrait of God was painted. The answer to the question, "Who is God?", was given to us by none other than God himself. On and about the platform of the Cross, Jesus demonstrated - not just declared - the identity of God. He did not just tell us. He showed us. Jesus did not write the Autobiography of God in words. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the Autobiography of God on the framework of the Cross of Christ.

What genre of literature is the Word of God ? The Word of God is a love note - a love note from God to us. God composed the love note to us in heaven and delivered it to us at Bethlehem. Furthermore, to verify the truth of the love note - to certify that the love note was genuine not counterfeit, God annexed his oath to the love note. He set his seal upon it. They testified that the love note came from God. In the violent collision, the truth of the love note was published unequivocally - its genuineness was guaranteed. The violent collision was the certificate of the love note's authenticity.

The beginning of the collision is known as the Crucifixion and the ending, as the Resurrection.

The collision yielded fruit both sour and sweet.

The Crucifixion produced the sour fruit of the collision. We launched a freight train of evil toward him. He saw it coming . Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin . He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" . In short, we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died.

The Resurrection produced the sweet fruit of the collision. Although we tortured and killed him and he suffered and died, 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 revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than omnipotence. Divinity is also love.

God's power built paradise for us. God's love for us, however, makes paradise sweet. Power begets respect; but, love begets love.

The Mystery of God Revealed

The mystery of God was revealed to us in the violent collision between Jesus, Our Savior, and the evil we did to him. How would he respond? He continued to love us nonetheless.

The Cross of Christ is a Three-Dimensional Revelation

The Cross of Christ is not a one-dimensional revelation. The Cross of Christ is not a two-dimensional revelation. The Cross of Christ is a three-dimensional revelation.

In other words, it holds three gallons of meaning.

One gallon of meaning is held in the Crucifixion on the near side of the Cross.

One gallon of meaning is held in the Resurrection on the far side of the Cross.

One gallon of meaning is held in the beautiful, symbiotic dance of question and answer that weaves its way through his bloody wounds like to connect the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into a conversation - the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb ! In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God was written.

Unfortunately, many who contemplate the Cross have only a one gallon tank. A one gallon tank cannot handle three gallons of meaning. Does your tank have the capacity to hold the full meaning of the Cross?

The Autobiography of God tells the Story of our Interrogation of God
We gave him the third degree and he confessed - he spilled the beans. He let the cat out of the bag.

A beautiful, symbiotic dance between question and answer weaves its way through his bloody wounds like to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection together into a conversation - the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb !

Between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection stand punctuation marks. The punctuation marks that stand between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are his bloody wounds . His bloody wounds are question marks. His bloody wounds are question marks because - at the time we opened them in his body - we did not know the answer Jesus would give us in response to the Crucifixion. The answer he would give us to the evil we did to him was - at the time - a mystery. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . We know the answer now. His answer to the evil we did to him is no longer a mystery.

Are you privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection?

The Crucifixion was the sharp question we shouted at Jesus. The swine squealed and the dogs barked their sharp questions at him. Lash, thorns, nails and spear were our sharp questions. "Who are you, Jesus? Identify yourself! Friend or foe?' we interrogated him as we jabbed him with our sharp questions. The Resurrection was the gentle answer he whispered back to us . Thankfully, he did not answer us in kind. He changed the tone of the conversation. 'Friend,' he whispered his gentle answer to us through his bloody wounds. His answer to us was "I am your almighty lover." His gentle answer was the pearl he threw to the swine - the holy that he threw to the dogs .

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and 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. Nobody 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 also love.

Evil interrogates us. It demands that we identify ourselves. In triggering a reaction from us, evil challenges us to reveal our nature to the world. 'What kind of person are you?' evil asks us. 'Show yourself' evil commands. 'Are you like me?' 'Are you my twin?' 'Are you a chip off the block of evil?' Our instinct instructs us to respond in kind. An evil question begets an evil answer. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot . The law of symmetry propagates the wave of evil from question to answer. It spreads the contagion. It communicates the disease. Evil jumps from queation to answer. The law of symmetry makes the symbiotic dance between question and answer ugly. Jesus, however, rejected the law of symmetry. He overruled it. He cast it aside. His answer to evil's question was different . When evil challenged Jesus to reveal his identity, Jesus declared that he was not like his interrogator. He declared that he is as different from evil as the day is different from the night . Jesus had the power to squash evil as easily as we squash a tiny bug. He could have answered evil in kind. Yet, he did not. He changed the tone of the conversation. To our sharp question, Jesus gave his gentle answer . Jesus brought a radical asymmetry to the symbiotic dance between question and answer. Radical asymmetry squeezes the ugliness from the dance. It stops the transmission of the disease. Radical assymetry is the insanity of Christianity . Jesus's answer to evil's question was the antithesis of evil. Thank God his thoughts are not our thoughts - his ways are not our ways .

His bloody wounds are the mouth of God. "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" . The good news of great joy is preached through his bloody wounds. By his bloody wounds we are healed . Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. Buckets of blood poured through the wounds that our evil opened in his body. But, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. The fidelity of our resemblance to God depends on the love we hold in our hearts. The greater the love, the higher the fidelity. By keeping his Most Sacred Heart filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus maintained a perfect resemblance to God. He refused to let our evil transmogrify him into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts.

He let our evil take his life but not his love for us. He kept what was more important to him. His love for us was more important to him than life itself .

What are the Credentials of Divinity?

What distinguishes our genuine God from the many counterfeit gods - the frauds - who try to deceive us? By his bloody wounds, we recognize our God . His bloody wounds are the memorials that remind us that his love for us survived the evil we did to him. His bloody wounds are the rainbow of the new covenant between our God and us . His bloody wounds are the credentials of divinity. A person who claims to be God or to stand in persona Christi is an impostor unless he can show you his credentials. Demand a demonstration from any claimant to divinity of his credentials . Expose the frauds. Remember that the serpent had no credentials. Jesus, on the other hand, flashed his credentials to us in his passion, death and resurrection. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go even though we tortured and killed him .

The incandescent truths that erupted from the collision between Jesus, Our Savior, and the evil we did to him are the shining jewel of the necklace that nestles at the center of the bosom of Christianity. Christians navigate through the darkness cast by the shadow of death over the Valley of Tears by its light .

The Love Note

God composed a love note to us in heaven, delivered it to us at Bethlehem, published it and guaranteed its genuineness in the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil we did to him, and propagates it to us whenever a priest says a Mass. [For further reading about the Love Note, click here ]

Our Almighty Lover



Rejoice and be glad! Despite the evil we did to him, Our God continues to love us nonetheless. Our God is our almighty lover - our friend not our foe. Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid ? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint? His love for us is real. Its reality was verified for us in the violent collision between Jesus, Our Savior, and the evil we did to him. God himself gave us proof. Only reality is reliable. We can depend on the reality of his love for us. His love for us is the rock on which the wise build their lives. Build your lives on his love for us.

The Enemies of God are Trying to Extinguish Love

Jealous of God's love for us, the serpent used us as the sharp stake to poke a hole in God's most Sacred Heart to drain it of his love for us. Surely, the serpent reasoned, if the children of Adam and Eve tortured and killed the Son of God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and their guest upon the earth, this egregious insult to the sublimity of divinity would extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for them in the heart of God! But, it did not. The evil we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The serpent's failure is apocalyptic. It reveals that God's love for us is immutable - intransigent - indestructible.

Our Crosses Generate Powerful Anti-God Propaganda

The tongues of our crosses are as sharp as their teeth. While the sharp teeth of our crosses chew us up into bits and pieces, their sharp tongues taunt our souls saying, "You are alone and forsaken." "Nobody is coming to rescue you." "Where is your savior now?" While we are nailed alive to our crosses, it is difficult to conceive that our God is our almighty lover . The taunts from the tongues of our crosses strike us as true and we wonder : Where is God? Why is our Savior AWOL? Why doesn't he rescue us, now? Why the delay? Why does God let us stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine? Is our God sadistic? Can we reconcile the notion that God is our almighty lover and our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears? Are they not incompatible facts? Is there an explanation? What the f%#k is going on?

Jesus Commandeered the Cross - the Agent of Our Woe - to Broadcast a Contradiction to the Serpent's Anti-God Propaganda

Since the age of Adam and Eve, God has broadcast a signal through the Valley of Tears that carries the message that he loves us . The serpent, however, jams God's message of love with anti-God propaganda. The towers from which the serpent broadcasts his anti-God propaganda are the many and merciless crosses that besiege us as we pass through the Valley of Tears. While they nail themselves to us, they taunt our souls saying, "You are alone and foresaken." "Nobody is coming to rescue you." "Where is your savior now?" It is difficult to conceive that our God is our almighty lover while we are being chewed into bits and pieces by the sharp teeth of our crosses.

To overcome the jamming, Jesus commandeered one of the towers that the serpent used to broadcast his anti-God propaganda. He reconfigured it. He turned off the broadcast of the serpent's anti-God propaganda. Then he used the tower to amplify the signal from God that carries the message of his love of us.

Jesus let our evil impale him to the Cross like a fisherman impales a worm on a hook. Jesus 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 tastes sweet to us because, despite the evil we did to him, he continues to love us nonetheless. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The survival of his love for us tells us that His love for us is mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn . The evil we did to him did not extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most Sacred Heart or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. The dial that controlls his love for us is in his hands not ours. It is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. Not even the evil we did to him could budge it.

The Battleground is our Rationality

The battleground is our rationality. Like Adam and Eve, we are confronted with a versus situation. The testimony is in conflict. Do we repeat Adam and Eve's fatal error and fall for the serpent's anti-God propaganda? Or, this time, do we accept the testimony of Jesus that he gave to us in the violent collision between himself and the evil we did to him? Isn't the violent collision much stronger verification of the truth than an oath? We are rational creatures. Which evidence is more persuasive? Perhaps, to resolve the dilemma, we need an explanation of why God lets us stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine - why is our rescue delayed.

Why isn't rescue immediate? Why did God insert a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise? Why does God let us stew in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine? What the f%#k is going on? The answers to these questions are important. They reveal God's plan for us. They give us an insight about what God is trying to do.

Transforming the Cucumber not the Vessel that Holds It

God lets us stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. The Valley of Tears is the vessel that holds the toxic brine in which we are cured. In the Valley of Tears, we go through a process of fermentation. In the Valley of Tears, the cucumber is transformed into a pickle. God is not interested in transforming the Valley of Tears into a kinder, gentler and more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants to transform godless people into people of God. Therefore, God does not eliminate our crosses. God wants us to pick them up and carry them . We derive value from the exercise. Learning how to pick up and carry our crosses is transformational. No crosses; no transformation.

Question Answer
What is the good news of great joy? We are not alone and forsaken. Our God did not abandon us in our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. Our God is actively engaged in the process of rescuing us. 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: the serpent is not rescuing us. In fact, he is the culprit who deposited us in our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears in the first place.
Question
How is God's conception of rescue different than our conception of rescue?
Answer
Our conception of rescue is different than God's conception of rescue . We want God to eliminate our crosses. God, however, does not. God wants us to pick up and carry our crosses . There is a difference in opinions. His prevails.

Why does God want us to pick up and carry our crossses? What benefit do we derive from doing so? There is only one way to pick up and carry a cross. God wants us to discover the way. Only love gives us the strength to pick up and carry our crosses. Without love, our crosses crush us under their oppresive weight. God challenges us with our crosses to teach us to love.

We are born in the image and likeness of God . God endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. God wants us to fill our hearts to the brim with love . When we fill our hearts with love, we become a high fidelity representation of the reality of God .

When we don't love, we stay strangers to God even though we think we are acting on his behalf . When we love, God recognizes himself in us . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" .

However, our crosses poke holes in our hearts when they nail themselves to us. The holes are question marks. We are being asked a question. Do we let our crosses drain our hearts of love? Do we let our crosses transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. Or do we deny ourselves? Do we resist? Do we refuse? Do we defiantly say, 'No!' to our crosses. Do we keep our hearts filled to the brim with love? The challenge of the Cross is the only significant question that each of us is called upon to answer during the course of our lives. Nothing else matters but the answer to this question.

God refuses to transform the Valley of Tears into a kinder, gentler and more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants to transform godless people into people of God. Eliminating our crosses does not transform godless people into people of God. To effect the transformation, our crosses need to be picked up and carried . When we learn how to pick up and carry our crosses, we can help our neighbors pick up and carry their crosses as well.

So Jesus transported from heaven to earth the technology that enables us to pick up and carry our crosses. Furthermore, the Son of God demonstrated for us that the technology works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe.

Only love kicks suffering's ass.

Love is the elixir that turns us into superman with the ability to pick up and carry our crosses.

Love is the Benadryl that prevents anaphylactic shock when we feel the sting of our crosses.

Love is the grease the lubricates the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears.

God presents us with the challenge of the Cross as we pass through the Valley of Tears in the hope that we will transform ourselves into creatures who love. He is not interested in transforming us into creatures who follow a book of rules . He is not interested in transforming us into creatures who are obedient. He is not interested in transforming us into a flock of docile sheep . God isn't such a small thinker. He has a higher goal and a bigger plan for us. He is only interested in transforming us into creatures who love - like himself . No challenge; no transformation.

Love deifies us. Therefore, Jesus wants us to download love from the Cross of Christ and, with it, fill our hearts . Download and install. The Cross of Christ is the Github of heaven at which the source code for success in life is kept.

The Evil We Did to Him Opened The Mouth of God

In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, we shouted our sharp questions at him with lash, thorns, nails and spear. "Who are you, Jesus?" "Identify yourself!" "Friend or foe?" Thankfully, he did not respond to our sharp questions in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation . The evil we did to him opened the mouth of God. The mouth of God is His bloody wounds. Through his bloody wounds, He whispered his gentle answer back to us. "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" . The good news of great joy was preached to us through his bloody wounds. By his bloody wounds we are healed . The truth that illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany passed through his bloody wounds. Witness the truth by watching the traffic through his bloody wounds. Buckets of blood poured through the wounds that our evil opened in his body. On a cataract of blood his very life itself was carried out of his body . But, not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us followed his blood through his wounds and out of his body. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Because his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" . Jesus's whispered answer to our sharp questions was that he was "our friend not our foe - our almighty lover."

Jesus was the treasure chest. The Crucifixion was the key. In the Resurrection was the treasure. When we impaled him on the Cross as a fisherman impales a worm on a hook, we inserted the key into the treasure chest, opened it and a high fidelity representation of the reality of God emerged.

Trying to divorce the truth about God from the violent collision that took place between Jesus, our Savior, and the evil that we did to him is akin to trying to divorce the light from the lightning bug. It does not work. It cannot be done. It kills both the light and the lightning bug.

God is sanity amid the madness - the truth amid the lies.

The Cross of Christ is the apotheosis of love.

The Economy of Paradise is Based on the Currency of Love

The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we get. It is a paradox, but with the currency of love, the more we spend, the richer we get. God paid us a visit at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet known as the Middle East more than two thousand years ago to introduce us to the currency of love and to establish the economy of paradise for us here on the earth.

Christianity is a religion built upon a love note - a love note from God to us. A love note is the foundation of Christianity.

What is Christianity?

Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in a treasure hunt. On the treasure map, 'X' marks the spot of the treasure . The 'X' that marks the spot of the treasure is the violent collision between Jesus, our Savior and the evil we did to him . In the vi9lent collision, the treasure of Christianity is buried. What is the treasure of Christianity? The treasure of Christianity is the love note that God composed for us in heaven and delivered to us at Bethlehem - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God . The treasure is the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. Jesus himself answered the question in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Are you privy to the conversation? The events that took place in the violent collision enrich our understanding of God. Let us make ourselves rich Let us dig up the treasure of Christianity together.

Rally 'round the Cross!

The Cross of Christ is the flag that the most Holy Trinity planted in the middle of his passion, death and resurrection to rally Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!

Jesus impaled on the Cross like a worm on a 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 modern Church, however, no longer baits the hook with the Cross of Christ. Yet, it is surprised that it is no longer catching fish.

Killing Christianity

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. The Church labors under the assumption that we already have an understanding of God - that we have completed Christianity 101 - that the foundation of Christianity has already been laid. And, therefore, it is free to move on to advanced topics such as morality and sin. The assumption, however, is incorrect. The Church has jumped the gun. Our understanding of God is superficial - thin. God is a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger . As a direct and proximate result of God being elbowed out of the conversation, the escape from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh, through the Valley of Tears, to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land 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 . 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 dying have little choice. The thermometer that gauges the temperature of the body of Christ is the practice of Christianity. By this measure, the patient is dying. Therefore, 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. Can we stop excluding God from the conversation? Can we devote at least 25% of the conversation to God? Is 25% too much to ask?

Ending the Confusion

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion. “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God. Others point to a different picture 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. They decided to give us the gift of the definitive picture of God - a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. Jesus showed us - not just told us - the nature of God - in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection - the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb ! Are you privy to the conversation? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God is written. Have you read it? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, Jesus shattered the illusion conjured up by the serpent that camouflages from us the sweetness of paradise.

 

The Importance of the Truth

God is quite the chatterbox. He does not shut up. However, he does not typically talk to us in words. If you expect God to use words, you will be disappointed. The language of God is reality. God is the artist who paints the masterpiece of reality on the canvas of our rationality in the pigments of truth. The serpent, on the other hand, sprays graffiti over the canvas, defaces the masterpiece and calls his vandalism art.

God is the gift giver. He delights in giving his creatures gifts. Among God's gifts are the gift of life and the gift of paradise. God gave Adam and Eve the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously. God, however, gives the children of Adam and Eve the gift of life and the gift of paradise sequentially. With the children of Adam and Eve, God changed the timetable of his gift-giving. He inserted a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. During the delay, we stew in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. Although the delivery of the gift of paradise is delayed, its delivery is ineluctable. 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.

Rationality, too, is a gift from God. With it, we process the truth. The truth is the fuel of our rationality. When fueled by the the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray. Only reality is reliable. Reality is the rock on which the wise build their lives . "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . Our freedom, therefore, depends on our ability to distinguish between true and false - between the real McCoy and the impostor.

Furthermore, rational creatures behave in a predictable manner. We follow a pattern. It is not a complicated pattern. Sweetness attracts us. Honey draws the bees back home to the hive. Sourness repels us. We flee from it. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. Hence, the truth can drive us.

To rescue the children of Adam and Eve from the sour truth of the Valley of Tears, God built an escape route through the Valley of Tears , defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church, entrusted the map to the Church and gave the Church the job of serving the new exodus as the new Moses. The Church has the map and knows the way . The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up . Note: Before the Church, God relied on the sour truth of the Valley of Tears to rescue us - to make sure we kept the gift of paradise when God delivers it to us. With the advent of Jesus, God offers us an alternative to the sour truth. God offers us the sweet truth to rescue us as well. The sour truth pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth pulls us to the entrance of paradise. The truth pushes us and pulls us.

The truth is the engine that drives the new exodus along 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. The engines of truth generate the current of salvation. The current of salvation flows from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. The mighty river of truth sweeps us off our feet and carries us to our salvation. Only the recalcitrant few swim against it.

God rescues us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears by applying the truth to our rationality. We climb out of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears on the ladder of truth.

Question
What is religion?
Answer
Religion is the search for the best answers to the fundamental questions of life. We are rational creatures. Questions and answers dance in the ballroom of our rationality as couples dance together on a dance floor. They give our world meaning. They either paint a true or a false picture of the world. Therefore, it is important to get them right. Are you asking the right questions? How good are your answers? Have you figured out which questions are important and which are not? More importantly, what is the source of your answers? From where do you derive them? Are you looking for the answers in the right places? Are your answers based on the truth or upon a weaker, more fragile foundation? Answers to the fundamental questions of life are not found by diving into the dumpsters of sin. Only God supplies the answers to the fundamental questions of life. Therefore, put yourself in the presence of God and listen. Put yourself into the presence of God at the holy places that define the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharoah to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. The answers to the fundamental questions of life are found at the Holy Places of God. God built an escape route through the Valley of Tears , defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church, entrusted the map to the Church and gave the Church the job of serving the new exodus as the new Moses. The Church has the map and knows the way . The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up . Participation is the job of the Church not transformation. Indeed, participation leads to transformation. But, transformation is the job of God not the Church. Getting the children of Adam and Eve to participate in the escape is the responsibility of the Church. Blame the Church when rates of participation decline . "Nobody left behind" is the motto of the escape. "Neither saint nor sinner ." The life boats are not reserved just for saints . If they were, they would be empty because, by and large, saints are mythical creatures, like Nephilim or centaurs or unicorns or chimera . Everyone is invited to enter the life boats to make their escape. Admission is free. The ticket to the escape is purchased by repentance . But, only God checks your ticket . The Church does not. The Church is not a ticket booth to whom you must show your ticket in order to join the escape. Furthermore, the Church is not a conductor who checks your ticket at some point during the course of the escape. Your ticket is checked only after you have arrived at your destination. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect . The holy places that define the escape route are oasis of paradise that decorate the hostile desert of godlessness like the jewels of a beautiful necklace. At the holy places, close encounters with our living and loving God take place. During a close encounter, God transforms us. We do not transform ourselves. The Church does not transform us. Only God transforms us and he does so at the holy places that define the escape route. The medicine of transformation is found at the holy places and is administered by none other than God himself. The holy places form the needle of a compass that always points in the direction of God. Only by moving from holy place to holy place can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. Therefore, make haste to the holy places. Make haste! Sit at his feet. Rest your head on his bosom . Keep God company. Put yourselves in His presence .

What is the Most Important of Life's Fundamental Questions?

The most important of all the fundamental question and answer pairs is the pair whose question is, "Who is God?". Can you answer the question? More importantly, upon what do you base your answer? What is your answer and what is its basis? Before you go any farther, jot down the answer and its basis so you can compare your understanding before and after you have heard the good news of great joy. My answer to the question, "Who is God?", is that our God is our friend not our foe, Our God is our almighty lover. My answer is based on the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection - the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb ! Are you privy to the conversation? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God was written. Have you read it? In the Autobiography of God, the good news of great joy was preached. Have you heard it? Has the good news of great joy reached your ears? We anchor ourselves to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as Ulysses anchored himself to the mast. It is the hub and all other aspects of Christianity are the spokes that radiate from it. To prevent any religious disorientation, always make it the point and place of beginning. Always start there. The incandescent truths that emerge from the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are the sum and summit of the Christian reality. They are the most important truths.

It is a Hunt not a Handout

The job of the Church is to introduce the children of Adam and Eve to the great questions of life and to point out the location of the answers - to suggest to them where they ought to cast their nets . The job of the children of Adam and Eve is to search the location for the answers - to find the Easter eggs. An Easter Egg hunt is ruined when the Easter Eggs are handed out to the participants. Therefore, respect the hunt.

The Highest Form of Persuasion

God told Adam and Eve that the fire was hot . Yet, Adam and Eve did not listen to God - they did not obey. They only agreed with God that the fire was hot after they put their fingers into the flames . Adam and Eve learned the hostile truth the hard way by experiencing it themselves instead of learning it the easy way by taking God at his word.

King Versus Prophet

God did not crown the Church as king to rule us. Indeed, God gave the Church a job. Indeed, the Church's job is important. The job of the Church, however, is not the job of a king but the job of a prophet. God annointed the Church as prophet to reveal the truth to us. A king tells us how to behave. A prophet tells us about God. Revelation, not regulation, is the primary mission and first priority of the Church. The two jobs are as different as night and day. A soothsayer is not a king; a king, not a soothsayer.

Furthermore, God did not put into the hands of the Church the royal scepter of sin to whack our souls over the head in a wicked frenzy of holy spiritual punishment until they are black, blue, battered, bruised and bleeding. The instrument that God put into the hands of the Church to do its job as prophet was the sledgehammer of truth. The sledgehammer of truth shatters the illusions conjured up by the serpent as the blow of the hammer shatters glass.

The serpent conjured up two illusions 1) the serpent sugarcoated the sourness of godlessness with false testimony that we would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears and 2) camouflaged the sweetness of paradise by planting a forest of crosses in the Valley of Tears whose sharp tongues taunt us by asking us "Where is your savior now?" as their sharp teeth chew us up into bits and pieces. This is powerful anti-God propaganda that causes us to doubt that our God is our almighty lover. It drives us to wonder, "Why isn't our rescue immediate?" "Why the delay?" "Perhaps God isn't as almighty or as head over heals in love with us as we are told?" "Perhaps our priesthood has lied to us about God?"

Our crosses play dual roles. They shatter the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. But, unfortunately, they conjure up the illusion that hides the sweetness of paradise. Thus, each illusion requires its own sledgehammer of truth to shatter it.

The Valley of Tears is autodidactic. The sledgehammer of truth that shatters the sugarcoating that the serpent poured over the Valley of Tears are the many and merciless crosses that besiege us as we pass through it. The sour truth of the Valley of Tears teaches us that we do not become gods without God .

The camouflage that hides the sweetness of paradise, however, is not self-destructive as the sugarcoating. It is shattered only by revelation. In this case, the sledgehammer of truth is the Cross of Christ. Jesus commandeered a cross, reconfigured its message and used it to guarantee the genuineness of the love note that God composed for us in heaven and delivered to us at Bethlehem. In generating the guarantee, Jesus revealed to us both the magnitude and duration of his love for us. By letting us impale him on the Cross as a fisherman insouciantly impales a worm on a hook, Jesus became the bait that the most Holy Trinity cast into the Valley of Tears to fish for the children of Adam and Eve . From the platform of the Cross, Jesus was able to show us - not merely tell us - the nature of God. The veil of the temple was was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and Jesus stepped through the rent in the veil to reveal the nature of God to us .

A Church that considers itself a king instead of a prophet goes off the rails. A king tries to rule us without first shattering the illusions that foul our understanding of reality. A prophet shatters illusions so, in possession of the truth, we can rule ourselves. When the Church goes off the rails, the people of God suffer. For the Church to succeed, it must wield the right instrument. The greatest failure of Christianity happens whenever the kings usurp the prophets. If you want to win, bench the kings and put the prophets back onto the field and into the "game". If you want to lose, maintain the status quo. It is time for a revolution in Christianity. It is time to depose the kings and restore the prophets.

More Zeal Than Understanding

The greatest danger to Christianity is posed by Christians whose zeal for Christianity exceeds their understanding of Christianity. Their zeal is to be admired . Their lack of understanding is to be corrected. Many zealous Christian are not privy to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection even though it is the most apocalyptic conversation that has ever taken place between us and our God since Moses and God conversed at the burning bush on Mount Horeb ! Are you privy to the conversation? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the treasure of Christianity is buried . Many zealous Christian, however, have never picked up a shovel, dug up the treasure and made themselves rich. They prefer zealous poverty to a rich understanding of God. They have no clue about either the existence of the treasure or its location. They are ignorant of the three central facts of Christianity:

1) Jesus was the treasure chest,

2) the Crucifixion was the key, and,

3) in the Resurrection was the treasure.


The good news of great joy is found in the treasure chest; yet, many Christians, whose zeal exceeds their understanding, do not have an understanding of precisely what constitutes the good news of great joy and cannot articulate it. When we impaled him on the Cross as a fisherman impales a worm on a hook, we inserted the key into the treasure chest, opened it and the truths that emerged, like the bright flash of lightning, illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. The veil of the temple was was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and Jesus stepped through the rent in the veil to reveal the nature of God to us . The treasure of Christianity is a high fidelity representation of the reality of God given to us by none other than God himself. We beheld, in the opening of the treasure chest, God's answer to the question, "Who is God?". In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, Jesus wrote his Autobiography - he painted his self-portrait. Have you read the Autobiography of God? Have you gazed upon God's self-portrait? The heart and soul of Christianity is the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. It is the hub from which all other aspects of Christianity radiate. We who have listened to the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection can say with confidence that God is our friend not our foe - He is our almighty lover. Knowing the benevolent nature of God makes it easier for us to trust in him.

The Path to Morality Passes through the heart

The path to morality passes through the heart. The perfect morality is the morality that fills the heart to the brim with love. You cannot get a better morality than a heart filled to the brim with love ! When you castrate the heart from the body of morality, the eunuch that you create is a travesty of morality - a bizarre mockery of it. When you bypass the heart, your morality becomes monstrous. We are born in the image and likeness of God . God endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. God wants us to fill our hearts to the brim with love . When we fill our hearts with love, we become a high fidelity representation of the reality of God . We become the leaven of the kingdom of God .

The Cappa Magna of the Pharisees

Let us not confuse cause and effect. Wrapping ourselves flamboyantly in the rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole of the Church as a patriot wraps himself in the flag is the effect of transformation - not its cause. Moreover, we are warned against hollow transformations - transformations only in appearance but not in substance . Dressing up as a Catholic does not make it so . The Catholic identity is hard to spot because it exists below the surface in our hearts . Transformation is all about increasing the fidelity of our resemblance to God. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the higher is the fidelity that our resemblance bears to God . Transformation takes place when we refuse to let evil transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. We are transformed when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe. Only love kicks suffering's ass. Jesus transported from heaven to earth the technology that enables us to pick up and carry our crosses. Furthermore, the Son of God demonstrated for us that the technology works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was.

The path to Christianity starts at the feet, moves to the heart and finishes at the head. First Christians have close encounters with our almighty lover at the Holy Places that define the escape route through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharoah to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. We do not transform ourselves. The Church does not transform us. Only God transforms us and he does so at the holy places. Next our hearts fill to the brim with love. The most miserable and hideous of loveless beast is transformed into God . The greater the love in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God . When we keep love in our hearts, God recognizes himself in us . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . Last the codex of rules, regulations, red tape and rigmarole fills our heads. If you do not reach the last step by the time your reach the end of your journey, don't fret. The first two steps are enough. You have succeeded in life if you complete the first two steps. Get the foundation right and everything falls into place. Get the foundation wrong and everything falls apart.

The Myth of the Full-Fledged Christian

Unlike coffee, there is no such thing as an instant Christian. It takes time to make a Christian. We do not become Christian overnight. A human being develops from a baby in the womb through other stages of life including infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. A similar framework of development takes place in the thinking of a Christian. A Christian whose thinking is not quite up to speed with the thinking of the self-styled orthodox Christian is still a Christian for the same reason that a baby in the womb is still a human being.

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 Tug of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is tugging 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. Aren't you curious?

The Tour Guide

The Church is the tour guide who points out the sights to see along the way as the curious are exploring the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. Still in business after more than two thousand years, its experience has given it great confidence - and should inspire confidence in us as well - that it knows a thing or two about our escape through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land.

Who is the usher? Who is the star of the show?

The Church is the usher who shows us to our seats. It is God, however, who puts on the show. The Church fails when it thinks it is the star of the show.

 
 

The Two Flavors of the Truth

The pigments of truth come in two flavors: sweet and sour like the chicken in a Chinese restaurant. The sour truth is the medicine, harsh but effective. The sweet truth is the sugar that helps the medicine go down . The sweetness of paradise dilutes the sourness of godlessness in the same way that sweet sugar cubes dilute the bitterness of a cup of coffee .

The Sour Truth

The Valley of Tears is the vessel that holds the sour truth in which we stew for a lifetime like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. In the sour truth of the Valley of Tears, we are baptized. The rod is not spared on the children of Adam and Eve in the Valley of Tears but is applied liberally. Spare the rod and spoil the children . In the Valley of Tears, we put our fingers into the flames to learn for ourselves that the fire is hot. The Valley of Tears is a classroom in which the pedagogy is cruel - brutally cruel. Passing through the Valley of Tears is not for sissies . In the Valley of Tears, like grist, we go through the mill - like meat, we go through the grinder . Indeed, the lesson is cruel. Without question, the fire is hot. Look at the third-degree burns on our hands.

The Valley of Tears is the Opposite of Eden

The serpent turned the garden of Eden inside out. In Eden, God planted a garden filled with the flowers of happiness . In the Valley of Tears, the serpent planted an "anti-garden" filled with the weeds of misery. The "anti-garden" is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable - as evil as God is good.

Our Dire Predicament in the Valley of Tears

In the Valley of Tears, many and merciless are the crosses whose sharp teeth chew us up into bits and pieces. Moreover, to make matters worse, over the Valley of Tears hangs the shadow of death , the worst and the last of our crosses . It is not safe to put roots down into the toxic soil of the Valley of Tears. Far better to be pilgrims passing through it than settlers roosting in it. Pursuing us from behind through the Valley of Tears is the new Pharaoh, the serpent, and his minions, the army of the new Egyptians. They are the hammer. The hammer is driving us toward the anvil. The anvil in front of us is the Red Sea of death. Without a miracle, our destiny is to be crushed between the hammer and the anvil.

God and the serpent are Adversaries in the Courtroom of Our Rationality

We are the jury. The serpent is presenting his evidence. So is God. The evidence conflicts. It is up to us to reach a verdict. The battleground on which God and the serpent are fighting is the battleground of our rationality. The weapon God uses is the truth. The weapon the serpent uses is falsehood. It is fact versus fiction. God presents the facts. The serpent presents the fictions. We are the jury who must distinguish fact versus fiction. The purpose of this exercise is so we can learn the truth for ourselves in the clash of conflicting evidence. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" .

We Need God's Help to Extricate Us from our Dire Predicament in the Valley of Tears

The Valley of Tears is hostile territory. In the Valley of Tears our predicament is dire. We are in trouble. We cannot rescue ourselves. We need help - God's help.

Adam and Eve were Strangers to the Sour Truth Held by the Valley of Tears

Before they opted out of Eden, Adam and Eve were strangers to the sour truth of the Valley of Tears. They had absolutely no personal experience with its toxicity. Their knowledge of it came from hearsay, conflicting testimony about it, God's and the serpent's .

Adam and Eve were Defenseless against Duplicity

Adam and Eve were born and raised in the truth. The existence of falsehood was a theory that never even crossed their minds. God made them innocent - without guile . God did not equip them with a defense mechanism against duplicity. To do so would have spoiled their innocence. Nor had such a defense mechanism against duplicity evolved in them. There was no need for skepticism. Before the advent of the serpent, nobody had ever lied to them .

The Serpent Exploited Adam and Eve's Defenselessness

So the serpent exploited their defenselessness. He took advantage of their innocence. He fouled their rationality with an illusion. He sugarcoated the sourness of godlessness. The serpent testified to Adam and Eve that they would become gods without God in the Valley of Tears . The serpent promised them deification in the Valley of Tears.

Deification

Both the serpent and God promise us deification. Only God, however, can deliver. Divinity is the indissoluble marriage between power and love - absolute and perfect. The deification promised by the serpent is power. The deificiation promised by God is love. Love comes first. Power afterwards.

Adam and Eve Decided to figure out the Truth for Themselves

Deification or death . Adam and Eve were ill-equiped to resolve the conflict in the testimony. So they decided to figure out the truth for themselves. They decided to conduct their own investigation. Trying to learn the truth for themselves was not an unreasonable course of conduct especially given that this was the first time that they were called upon to resolve testimonial conflict. How else would the jury reach a verdict? Adam and Eve learned the hostile truth about the Valley of Tears the hard way by experiencing it themselves instead of learning it the easy way by taking God at his word.

How did God view Adam and Eve's attempt to resolve the conflict in the testimony?

Did Adam and Eve's fact finding mission offend God? "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" . Supremely confident in the liberating power of the truth, God let them conduct their own investigation. He did not stand in the way. He did not stop them. Even though an expedition of exploration into the Valley of Tears was contrary to their self-interest, he was unwilling to turn paradise into a prison, himself into a warden and them into prisoners to keep them in paradise. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. Nor did he drag them back to paradise against their wills while they kicked and screamed like recalcitrant children. He let their exercise of free will play out. God knew that in the course of their investigation they would learn the truth and the truth would make them free . They would learn the truth the hard way. Instead of accepting God's word, they would would figure out the truth for themselves.

The Children of Adam and Eve Have Tasted for Themselves the Sour Truth of the Valley of Tears

In contrast to Adam and Eve, the children of Adam and Eve have first hand experience with the sour truth of the Valley of Tears. We stew in it for a lifetime.

Better Data; Better Verdict.

Basing their verdict on bad data about the Valley of Tears caused Adam and Eve to reach the wrong verdict. Adam and Eve did not have enough evidence to render the right verdict. They only knew paradise. They did not know godlessness. They only had the illusion that the serspent conjured up that sugarcoated the sourness of godlessness . The serpent fouled the fuel of truth with illusion. The children of Adam and Eve, therefore, will be given enough evidence to render the right verdict. They will have better data. They will taste for themselves the sourness of godlessness. They will have first hand knowledge of the Valley of Tears. Experience will prepare them. They will know their options.

Heaven's Customer Service Department

Letting us stew in the hostile truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine generates all of the complaints about God's rescue plan. The crosses that chew us up into bits and pieces as we pass through the Valley of Tears keep the customer service department of paradise busy. More than a few have cursed their bitter experience in the Valley of Tears in the foulest of language and waved their fists against God. The hostile truth of the Valley of Tears is the platform from which many jump to the incorrect conclusion that God is a malicious misanthrope instead of a benevolent philanthropist. Put the blame for our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears, 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?' 'Why did you procrastinate?' are our only legitimate complaints against God. Yet, even this complaint is unwarranted. The medicine is harsh but effective. Therefore, God prescribes it. Stewing in the Valley of Tears for a lifetime bears many fruits .

What Benefits Do We Derive From Stewing in the Sour Truth of the Valley of Tears like Pickles in a Barrel of Toxic Brine?

We taste for ourselves the downside of stewing in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. Is there an upside? What is the upside?

Stewing in the Sour Truth Defangs the Serpent

In the Valley of Tears, the sour truth fortifies us. It is the sledgehammer that shatters the illusion conjured up by the serpent. It shatters the illusion as a hammer shatters glass. The sour truth sets us free. First hand experience with the sour truth defangs the serpent. It drains the serpent's illusion of its power to deceive. The sour truth reveals that, contrary to the testimony of the serpent, we do not become gods without God in the Valley of Tears . Without God, we perish .

Stewing in the Sour Truth Reduces the Risk that We Would Let the Gift of Paradise Slip Through Our Fingers After It is Delivered to Us to Near Zero

Even though we abandoned him in Eden, God did not abandon us in the Valley of Tears. God is actively executing his plan to rescue us at this very moment. God plans to deliver the gift of paradise to us just as God delivered the gift of paradise to Adam and Eve. God is the gift giver. His nature is to give his creatures gifts. God will not be less generous with us than God was with them. Adam and Eve were the first beneficiaries of God’s love for us. They were not the last. God’s philanthropy did not end with Adam and Eve; God’s philanthropy began with them. This is good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed . God does not want us just to receive the gift of paradise. God wants us to keep it as well. Moroever, God wants us to keep the gift of paradise without turning paradise into a prison, God into our warden and us into his prisoners. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. Baptizing us in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears before delivering the gift of paradise to us ensures that we keep it. Will we let the gift of paradise slip through our fingers? Will we fumble the ball as Lucifer did, as the gaggle of angels who follow Lucifer did, as Adam did, as Eve did, and as the prodigal son did? They were given the gift of life and the gift of paradise simultaneously. With us, God inserts a delay between the gift of life and the gift of paradise. During the delay we stew in the sour truth of the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. Stewing reduces the likelihood of fumbling the ball to near zero, don't you think? Will the prodigal son ever return to the pig sty? Will we? The sour truth is harsh but effective medicine. It cures us of our "butterfingers", a condition otherwise known as original sin.

Stewing in the Sour Truth Gives Us The Opportunity To Rise To The Challenge of the Cross and Conquer It

Our crosses present a challenge to us. They present us with two (2) options:

Option #1: Surrender

Our crosses can crush us under their unbearable weight. They can squeeze out the love we hold in our hearts as paste is squeezed out of a tube. They can transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts.

Option #2: Resistance

We can resist. We can deny ourselves. We can fight against our natural, reflexive tendency to release our grip on love when our crosses nail themselves to us. Instead, we can pick them up and carry them .

The choice is ours.

We are born in the image and likeness of God . God endowed us with the capacity to love. The greater the love that we hold in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God. God wants us to fill our hearts to the brim with love . When we fill our hearts to the brim with love, we become a high fidelity representation of the reality of God . Love gives us strength. Love transforms us into superman. Only creatures who love can pick up and carry their crosses . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" .

Success in the challenge of the Cross takes place when we refuse to let evil transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. Success happens when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Failure happens when we become the loveless beast.

God is not interested in transforming us into creatures who follow a book of rules . He is not interested in transforming us into creatures who are obedient. He is not interested in transforming us into a flock of docile sheep . God isn't such a small thinker. He has a higher goal and a bigger plan for us. He is only interested in transforming us into creatures who love - like himself .

God presents us with his challenge to pick up and carry our crosses as we pass through the valley of tears in the hope that we will transform ourselves into creatures who love.

No challenge; no transformation.

Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. When you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved. Hold tight and refuse to let go of love, sufferings invincible foe. The Son of God demonstrated for us that the technology of applying love to suffering works by using it himself. He donned the jet pack and flew to show us that we, too, can fly. What a crazy daredevil this Jesus was! The technology of applying love to suffering is the "grease" for the wheels of our passage through the Valley of Tears.

The Nexus Between the Sour Truth and the Sweet Truth

The sour truth is the engine that pushes us to the exit of godlessness. The sweet truth is the engine that pulls us to the entrance of paradise. The two engines of truth generate the current of salvation. The current of salvation carries us from the sourness of godlessness to the sweetness of paradise. Only a recalcitrant few swim against it. The playing field is not on the level. The "game" is rigged. It is tilted downhill from godlessness to paradise to help us reach our salvation. Standing like a colossus at the nexus between the entrance of paradise and the exit of godlessness is Jesus. Through his bloody wounds the great leap is made from time to eternity . He is the way . "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." .

The Sweet Truth

The sweet truth is the lightning whose bright flash illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. It reveals to us the the answer to the question, "Who is God?". The answer to the question, "Who is God?" is the treasure of Christianity. The treasure of Christianity is a high fidelity representation of the reality of God. A high fidelity representation of the reality of God was unveiled for us in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Are you privy to the conversation? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the autobiography of God was written. Have you read it?

The Message from God to Us

'How do we tell them how much their God loves them?' the most Holy Trinity asked themselves. 'We pay them a visit. We let them torture and kill us. We suffer and die. We rise from the dead. And we continue to love them nonetheless. If this does not tell them how much their God loves them, nothing can or will.'

The Treasure Chest of Christianity, Its Key and Its Treasure

Jesus was the treasure chest. The Crucifixion was the key. And the Resurrection was the treasure. The treasure of Christianity is God's self-portrait. It is the Autobiography of God. It is a high fidelity representation of the reality of God given to us by none other than God himself. It is God's answer to the question, "Who is God?". When we impaled him on the Cross as a fisherman impales a worm on a hook, we inserted the key into the treasure chest. It opened and the truths that emerged, like the bright flash of lightning, illuminated the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.

The Publication of the Nature of God Commenced on the Cross of Christ. Publication was completed in the Resurrection.

Jesus was the treasure chest. The Cross of Christ was the key. The Resurrection was the treasure. At the Cross of Christ, the publication of the nature of God commenced. Publication was completed in the Resurrection. By turning the key in the treasure chest, the sweet truth emerged to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.

His Bloody Wounds are a Telescope through which We Catch a Glimpse of Heaven from Here on Earth

His bloody wounds are the telescope that our evil installed in his body. When we look through the telescope of his bloody wounds from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. The nearsighted only look at the Crucifixion on the near side of his bloody wounds. The farsighted look through his bloody wounds from the Crucifixion on their side to the Resurrection on their far side. Through his bloody wounds, the relationship of question and answer weaves its way to tie the Crucifixion and the Resurrection into a conversation - the most apocalyptic conversation that the children of Adam and Eve have ever had with their God. Are you privy to the conversation? In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the autobiography of God is written. Have you read it?

Jesus did not write the Autobiography of God in words. It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . The carpenter built the Autobiography of God on the framework of the Cross of Christ.

God poured more and better theology into the Cross of Christ than into the heads of every apologist, theologian, Doctor of the Church, apostle, monk, abbot, mystic, priest, monsignor, bishop, Cardinal, Pope, hermit and saint who has ever lived or will ever live

Listen first to what Jesus said about himself in his Autobiography before you listen to what others have said about him elsewhere.

Rest your head on the pillow of the Cross of Christ to sleep the sleep of the angels.

A High Fidelity Representation of the Reality of God

The Autobiography of God - God's self-portrait - was published by the most Holy Trinity here on earth in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection to put into our hands a high fidelity representation of the reality of God - an authentic, first-class representation of God. Its high fidelity is unmatched by the many low fidelity representations of God made by human hands . In fact, God banned us from making representations of him in the first place because of the low fidelity of human made representations . Better no representation than an inaccurate representation.  All lesser representations of God, therefore, must yield to the representation God gave us in his autobiography. Have you read the Autobiography of God? Do you understand it? Are you not curious about what God said about himself in it?

In the Valley of Tears, The Language of Suffering is our Native Tongue

Why did God speak to us in the language of suffering? The only universal language that survived the confounding of language that took place at Babel was the language of suffering. The language of suffering is our native tongue. All creatures who suffer understand it. God took flesh so he could speak to us in our native tongue. He didn't want us to misunderstand his message. The language of suffering is a simple language. It works like this. Nobody signs up to dive headfirst or, for that matter, even dip his toe into the boiling cauldron of suffering unless they are insane or something important outweighs the high cost of suffering. We understand that suffering is an exorbitant price we only willingly pay for something that is extremely dear to us. Jesus paid the exorbitant price because we are extremely dear to Him . The Son of God became one of us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering so we could become an equal to him in his divinity - a partner with him in his glory .

The "Maleness" of Divinity; the "Femaleness" of Humanity

Why is God depicted as male? Why does the Catholic Church reserve its priesthood to males? The act of reproduction is a powerful allegory that the genius of God embedded into life itself to inform us that God is trying to inseminate us with the knowledge of God. God wants to knock us up - to make us pregnant with the knowledge of God . At the climax of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Word of God sowed the knowledge of God into the womb of humanity . The climax of the conversation occurred when Jesus emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to leaven the mud with the yeast of divinity. The yeast of divinity is love .

The Ladder of Truth

We climb out of our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears on the ladder of truth.

The Rungs of the Ladder of Truth

To catch a glimpse of the better, brighter and more beautiful world outside and beyond the walls of the crosses that besiege us in the Valley of Tears , climb the tree as Zacchaeus climbed the tree . Pull your feet out of the toxic quagmire of the Valley of Tears, shake off the mud and climb the tree. The Cross of Christ is the tree. It is the tree of life . The Cross of Christ is a three runged ladder. The Crucifixion, his bloody wounds and the Resurrection are the three rungs of the ladder. We climb the Cross of Christ to ascend above our own crosses to catch a glimpse of the sweetness of paradise from here on earth . Jesus is the sweetness of paradise. To catch a glimpse of Jesus, climb the tree. Climb the Cross of Christ.

The First Rung of the Ladder

Climb onto the first rung of the ladder to behold the evil we did to him. From the first rung, behold the Crucifixion on the near side of the Cross of Christ. The Crucifixion is the exorbitant price he paid to demonstrate the magnitude and duration of his love for us. He paid the price out of his own pocket. He did not pay the price 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 price he paid is the proof of how dear we are to him. The serpent did not pay a price for us. Jesus did and the price he paid was exorbitant.

The Second Rung of the Ladder

Climb onto the second rung of the ladder to behold the punctuation marks that our evil opened in his body. From the second rung, behold his bloody wounds. His bloody wounds are question marks. They turn the Crucifixion into our question to Jesus and the Resurrecton into his answer to us. They mark a mystery. 'How will our God respond to the evil we did to him?' At the time that our evil opened bloody wounds in his body, the response that they would trigger from him was a mystery to us. The reasonable expectation was that the evil we did to him would trigger his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. "An eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" . Thankfully, he did not respond in kind . He changed the tone of the conversation .

The Third Rung of the Ladder

Climb onto the third rung of the ladder to behold that his love for us survived the evil we did to him. From the third rung, behold the Resurrection on the far side of the Cross of Christ. His love for us did not fade as we tortured him and did not die when we killed him. It survived. 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. His love for us is mysteriously intransigent, inexplicably persistent and radically stubborn . The bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart is unquenchable. Not even the evil we did to him can extinguish the flame or reduce its intensity by even the slightest degree. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. Because his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." 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.

Climb as Zacchaeus climbed. As we climb each rung of the ladder, we discover the answer to the question, 'Who is God?' The identity of God is revealed to us by the three rungs of the Cross of Christ. When we ascend the Cross of Christ, we break open the lid of our coffins, rise from the dead, enter the glorious light and behold a better, brighter and more beautiful world.

Which is The Greater Miracle?

Nothing grows in the toxic soil of the Crucifixion. Nothing. It is a barren matrix. So when the flower of the Resurrection sprouted and grew, we beheld a miracle. We planted him in the toxic soil of the Crucifixion, yet, the flower of the Resurrection emerged therefrom still alive and still in love with us. The flower of the Resurrection is remediating the toxicity of the soil. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant than power. It revealed to us that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete. Divinity is also love. Which is the greater miracle? His emerging from the dead still alive or his emerging from the dead still in love with us?

The Church is fishing for the Children of Adam and Eve with the wrong bait yet It is Surprised that it has stopped Catching Fish

Jesus impaled on the Cross like a worm on a 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 modern Church, however, no longer baits the hook with the Cross of Christ. Yet, it is surprised that it is no longer catching fish. In fact, it makes a virtue out of a necessity. It calls its failure a success . It compliments itself by claiming its smaller Church is purer. However, its self-compliment is undeserved. The decline of the Church is not due to a healthy process of purification. The decline is the result of clerical incompetence. By fishing with the wrong bait,the Church is committing suicide.

The Primary Mission and First Priority of the Church is to Introduce God to the Children of Adam and Eve

Have you been properly introduced to your God? Have you made his acquaintance? The primary mission and first priority of the Church is not to introduce morality to the children of Adam and Eve. Its primary mission and first priority is to introduce us to God and then get out of the way.

The Cross of Christ is the Throne of God

The Cross of Christ is the throne of God . From the throne of God, the good news of great joy is preached. The throne of God is foundation on which the Church is built. But the Church has neglected its foundation. It has deferred maintenance and care of its foundation while it pursues other projects. Compared to the importance of the foundation of the Church, the other projects are frivolous - all of the other projects are frivolous - no exceptions - when compared to the Cross of Christ.

The Radical Asymmetry of God

When we juxtapose God and his creatures, we notice a radical asymmetry . Even though we did evil to him, God still wants to do good to us. Wow! We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead and still wants to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. He did not pull his offer of paradise off the table. He did not cancel his plan to lead us back to our home with him and his Holy Family in paradise. The evil that we did to him ought to have rendered us ineligible for his gifts. It ought to have disqualified us. But it did not. God continues to love us nonetheless .

Our God is different than us . When evil is done to us, at the very least, it pisses us off. It antagonizes us. It earns the evildoers a place on our shit list. It provokes our instinct for justice. It triggers our reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. But not so with God. Not so. Jesus refused to let the evil we did to him transmogrify him into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. Instead of releasing his grip on love, He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He maintained his resemblance to God. The greater the love in our hearts, the greater is our resemblance to God . "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" . Because his most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Question Answer
What makes God angry? If torturing and killing him while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth did not piss him off, I daresay that nothing can or will.

Mitigation

Wouldn't a merciful God mitigate the direness of our predicament in the Valley of Tears? Wouldn't a merciful God blunt the sharp edge of its cruelty?


Will God part the Red Sea of death for us as he parted the Red Sea for the Jews so we, too, may safely pass through it to the promised land? Will he insert a filter to keep some of us, undesireables, out of the promised land when he did not insert a filter for the Jews? Hasn't the script already been written? Will our immutable God rewrite the script?

The Big Picture

The exodus of the Jews is a powerful allegory that the genius of God embedded into the history of humanity to inform us about our place in the Big Picture of life here on earth. The Jews made their escape through the hostile desert. So, too, Christians. We are making our escape through the Valley of Tears. The Valley of Tears is our hostile desert.

Like foolish children, Adam and Eve ran away from their home in the garden of Eden with God and his Holy Family . Happiness was forsaken for misery. Our parents took us with them into the "anti-garden" that is called the Valley of Tears . The "anti-garden" is as foul as Eden was fair - as hostile as Eden was hospitable. Without God and his Holy Family in the Valley of Tears, we vainly try to grab the golden ring of godhood , cutting each others throats to attain that which is unattainable by dint our own efforts. In the "anti-garden", the serpent, the antichrist , diabolically planted a fell forest of merciless crosses whose sharp teeth chew us up into bits and pieces. Moreover, to make matters worse, over the Valley of Tears hangs the shadow of death , the worst and the last of our crosses . There is no shortcut by which we can avoid the Valley of Tears. It is not a Maginot Line that we can go around. There is no bridge over it or tunnel under it. We must pass through it. As meat passes through a grinder, we pass through it. As grist passes through a mill, we pass through it. No exceptions.

Is there a best way to pass through the gauntlet of crosses whose sharp fangs bristle at us in the Valley of Tears? Does a sanctuary exist in which we can take refuge?

We have a choice.

We can pass through the Valley of Tears alone on our own without God's help. We can fend for ourselves. We can try to blaze our own trail. There is a slim possibility that we will stumble through our ordeal in the Valley of Tears and out the other side. Cross your fingers. We may get lucky. The worst and final cross, death, however, may be an insurmountable problem for us to overcome. But, as was said, we may get lucky.

Or we can rely on a solution more certain than luck.

We can pass through it with God's help , our hands in his hands like trusting children . God did not abandon us in the Valley of Tears . Through the Valley of Tears from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land, God built an escape route , defined the escape route with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church, entrusted the map to the Church and gave the Church the job of serving the new exodus as the new Moses. The Church has the map and knows the way . The job of the Church is to facilitate the escape not to frustrate it, filter it or foul it up . "No man left behind" is the motto of the escape. "Neither saint nor sinner ." The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect . At the holy places that define the escape route, God transforms us. The Church does not transform us. We do not transform ourselves. Only God transforms us. God and God alone is the agent of transformation. And transformation only takes place at the holy places that define the escape route. At the holy places, we can find happiness with God and his Holy Family here on earth. Therefore, make haste to the holy places. Make haste! At the holy places, acknowledge that you are in the presence of God and listen. Sit at his feet. Rest your head on his bosom . Keep God company. "What a paradise it is for a soul when the heart knows itself to be so loved by God." (St. Faustina - Notebook VI, 1756).