Table of Contents
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- In the Valley of Tears, we stew like pickles in a barrel of brine
- God lets us stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of brine for one lifetime.
- The Big Picture is that God did not abandon us in the Valley of Tears. He is actively engaged in the process of rescuing us from our dire predicament. He applies the truth to our rationality to prod the new exodus into motion along the escape route that he built through the Valley of Tears that takes us from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and His Holy Family in the Promised Land. God is the cowboy and we are the cattle. The new exodus is a cattle drive driven by the truth.
- What was the mission of Jesus?
- Mitigation: God dulls the sharp edges of our crosses in the Valley of Tears
- To induce us to exit paradise and enter the Valley of Tears, the serpent testified that there we would obtain the golden ring of Godhood. God testified that there we would die, The testimony was in conflict.
- God's will is love and mercy itself
- Happiness here on earth is found by putting yourself in the presence of God
- The Most Holy Eucharist
- The Truth is the Fuel for our Rationality. When fueled by the truth, our rationality leads us in the right direction. When the fuel is fouled by illusion, our rationality leads us astray. The serpent introduced illusion into the fuel of truth. The serpent's illusions hides from us the truth about the Valley of Tears and the truth about Paradise.
- How did God reveal his Identity to us? Where do we look to discover the answer to the question, "Who is God?"
- The Good News of Great Joy is the Love Note that God sent to us at Bethlehem and whose genuineness God verified for us in the events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The process of verification was complete when God's love for us survived the evil we did to him.
- More Mitigation
- The Cross of Christ holds three gallons of meaning. Does your tank have the capacity to hold three gallons of meaning?
- The Cross of Christ is the stage on which a macabre horror show was performed (the Crucifixion) with a happy ending (the Resurrection).
- The truth is murdered when the intimate connection between the Cross of Christ and the Truth about God is severed.
- What are the credentials of divinity?
- The Son of God proclaimed the Good News of Great Joy to us in our native tongue, the language of suffering.
- In the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, the Autobiography of God was written. In the Autobiography of God, the treasure of Christianity is buried. The treasure of Christianity is the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'.
- Rescue from our Dire Predicament in the Valley of Tears
- God's conception of rescue is different than our conception of rescue. We want God to eliminate our crosses. God, however, does not. God refuses to transform the Valley of Tears into a kinder, gentler, less hostile and more hospitable place for godless people to live. God wants to transform godless people into people of God. Picking up and carrying our crosses does that.
Proof of the Proposition
At Calvary, the identity of Jesus was revealed through a demonstration. He put on a show. It revealed both the size and the duration of his love for sinners. The size of his love for sinners was revealed by the making of the payment itself. The demonstration was not free. Its production came at a cost. For the demonstration to work, the Son of God needed to pay its cost out of his own pocket. No payment; no demonstration. He paid the cost of the demonstration 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 immensity of his love for us matches the exorbitant size of the payment he made (John 15:13). Moreover, the duration of his love for sinners was revealed by that which survived the payment. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. The evil we did to him did not poke a hole in his most sacred heart and drain it of his love for us. 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 spilled. Despite the evil we did to him, he continued to love us nonetheless. This tells us that his love for us is indestructible. Its duration is forever.
The Gospel of Irrationality
Rational creatures seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is against their self-interest to do otherwise. By wielding the sledgehammer of truth against the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness and the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise, the illusions get shattered, the truth becomes visible to us and settlers become pilgrims. Settlers are more interested in the roots they have sunk deep into the hostile desert of godlessness than in seeking God and fleeing godlessness. Settlers are stationary - sessile. Pilgrims are on the move. Pilgrims have joined the new exodus led / served by the new Moses, the Church, and are making their escape through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. Only by passing from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. The escape is the needle of the compass that always points in the direction of paradise. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect. The gospel of Irrationality turns things positive into things negative. It promotes suicide - the denial of self - self-destruction. It is akin to wearing a sweater inside out. It still keeps you warm but it is an awkward presentation because the sweater was not meant to be worn inside out. Happiness is generated by having close encounters with the living God at the holy places that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise. Those who preach the gospel of irrationality tell us where God is not. Those who preach the gospel of rationality tell us where God is. God is found at the holy places that define the escape route. God is not found in our selfishness. The goal is to encounter God. The goal is not the denial of self. The glass is half full not half empty.
The Indestructibility of God's Love for Sinners
The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to reveal to the mud the sweetness of paradise. The sweetness of paradise is God's indestructible love for sinners. Its indestructibility was proven to us at Calvary. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The sweetness of paradise is the honey that lures the bees back home to the hive. God let us impale the Son of God upon the sharp hook of salvation while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. We impaled the live bait on the sharp hook with the same insouciance as the fisherman who impales a worm on the hook. The live bait was then cast into the cesspools of sin to fish for the children of Adam and Eve. Many have taken the bait hook, line and sinker.
God's omnipotence made paradise.
God's indestructible love for sinners makes paradise sweet.
The Bigger Bang
At Calvary, good and evil collided. The collision was bigger than the big bang. It was larger than the Large Hadron Collider. The collision produced two byproducts: 1) He did not stay dead and 2) He did not stop loving sinners. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God. That he did not stop loving sinners, however, is the proof of so much more than his divinity. It is the proof that divinity is love.
The Dial that Controls His Love for Sinners
The dial that controls his love for sinners is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.
The Firewall between the Evil that Sinners do and God's Indestructible Love for Them
Between the evil that we, sinners, did to Jesus and his love for sinners is a firewall - a great abyss. They are disconnected. His love for sinners is greater than the evil that sinners do to him. Never underestimate his love for sinners.
The New Moses
The Church is the new Moses. It is the leader / servant of the escape. The escape is taking place and is now in progress on the escape route through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land. Only by passing from holy place to holy place that define the escape route can we be sure that we are heading in the right direction. The escape is the needle of the compass that always points in the direction of paradise. The escape from godlessness to paradise is primary. Nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary. Anything that interferes is suspect.
The Three Stages of Evangelization
To turn a sinner into a saint, first turn a settler into a pilgrim. To turn a settler into a pilgrim, shatter the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise and the illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. Shatter the illusions with the sledgehammer of truth as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. When the illusions are shattered and the truth becomes visible to us, we seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. The truth sets us free. The first business of the Church, therefore, is to shatter the illusions. Then, when the children of Adam and Eve exit the darkness of the illusions and enter the light of truth, in a state of disorientation, they will ask, 'how do we get there from here - from godlessness to paradise?'. When they are asking for directions, it becomes the appropriate time to tell them that the Church knows the way. God built an escape route from godlessness to paradise, defined it with holy places, made a map of them, established a Church, entrusted the map to the Church, and burdened the Church with the mission of leading / serving the escape from godlessness to paradise as the New Moses. The Church has the map and knows the way. Morality comes last after a settler has been transformed into a pilgrim by exposure to the truth. Morality is the third and final stage of evangelization. Trying to get 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 is throwing pearls before swine. As settlers, they see morality as the straight jacket that imprisons them and not as the key that sets them free. Morality only has a chance to take hold in pilgrims. In summary, evangelization has three stages: 1) Shattering the illusions, 2) The Escape and 3) Morality.
Communities of Love
With whom do you hang out? Our happiness depends on spending our time with people who love us. That is why we must allocate a significant subset of our time to the God who loves us. Our happiness depends on it. Spending your time with people who do not love you does not produce happiness. People who do not love you just want to take from you. Bartenders do not love you. They just want to take your money. Drug dealers do not love you. They too just want to take your money. Pornographers and other dealers in vice do not love you but just want to take from you. Therefore, avoid them and seek out communities of love. The Trinity is a community of love. God invites us to join it. When you abided in your mother's womb, she just wanted to give to you. There you were happy. Abortion is horrific because it destroys a community of love. Whenever a community of love fails, it is a loss for the world (No Man is an Island by John Donne). Your family is a community of love. Its members just want to give to you. There you are happy. Marriage is a community of love. Spouses just want to give to each other. There you are happy. When the love stops in a community of love, the happiness stops as well. Moreover, communities of love can be built. You can do it by loving your neighbor. By loving your neighbor, a community of love gets built. Love begets love. Jesus is in the process of building a community of love that includes all of us. He does so by loving us. Avoid the vampires who just want to take from you. Seek the lovers who just want to give to you. Happiness is found in communities of love. Unless you are in the process of building a new community of love, spend little time outside of your communities of love. Furthermore, always be ready to open the door of your communities of love to your neighbors.