Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beggars before God

We are all beggars before God.  There is nothing we can truly call our own.  Everything is a gift from God and everything comes from him.

However, not all beggars are alike.  Some are childlike, obsessed with their own needs and anxiously try to prolong their existence and fulfill their desires as much as possible.  They demand things from God in a timely fashion and if their prayer is not heard according to their will they do whatever is necessary to make sure their needs are accomplished. Another type of beggar is one who is humble, sincere and has realized their own helplessness and in humility has turned outside of himself for the answers and for the help he needs for his life.  His “nothingness” has not led him to despair but to hope in a loving and merciful God.

Which kind of beggar are we?

If our brokenness, sins, mistakes, regrets and fears do not make us humble than we will remain like the beggar who is never satisfied and who is always anxious and afraid.  Yet if in our poverty we can turn to God, honest about ourselves and our lives, we will experience the hand of a loving Father in our life.  He will change the rags that we as beggars have acquired and clothe us in the new and beautiful garments of the children of God.

God bless you,

Fr. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock CFR
St. Felix Friary, Yonkers, NY

Monday, January 2, 2012

Questioning in Luke 1

When I was growing up “y” was my favorite letter of the alphabet - my poor parents! We modern people love to question things. Faith can be a huge area of questions and doubts.

Zechariah and the Virgin Mary both question what the Angel Gabriel told them. Zechariah as an elderly priest in the Temple asked, “How can this be? My wife and I are past the child-bearing age?” Mary as a teenage girl asked, “How can this be? I do not know man?” Zechariah receives a nine month silent retreat as punishment for his disbelief. The Virgin Mary receives the Word incarnate in her womb.

What was the difference between their two questions? Evidently Zechariah questioned from a position of disbelief. Mary questioned from a position of  faith seeking understanding (the fides quaerens intellectum of St. Anselm).

So let us question like Mary, not from skepticism and suspicion, but rather from a trust which seeks to understand. The answers to some questions are so big and wonderful that we will need to wait for eternity to ponder them. If God was small enough for our minds, He wouldn’t be big enough for our problems.

Another helpful point to ponder: With God the penalty always contains the remedy. Nine months in silence was just what Zechariah needed to confront his unbelief. Silent prayer in the presence of the Lord will help our unbelief as well.

God bless you,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY