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Friday, February 19, 2016

Kendall Jane Kettinger

My niece is one year old today. I have no idea what being an uncle is and will be about. I only know that if Mom and Dad just don't seem to understand, you'll have another soft place to fall. You won't understand now, but Uncle Jason has seen a few things in his time.

Trust in God. Trust also in me. Other than God, no one loves you like your family does. Try not to forget how much others have given for your sake. You'll probably see things your parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents never imagined. Stuff is nice, but everything that matters can't be bought with money.

Don't be afraid. Most of the things we're supposed to be afraid of aren't real. You'll find most people don't know what they are talking about. You'll be a leader also, just by showing up and caring. That won't be too hard for you, if you're anything like your father.

I'm here if you need me.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

And The Word Became Flesh

As much human wisdom may be found in the religions of humankind, they cannot compare to God who took on flesh, and dwelt among us. There becomes possible a certain heroism in simply living, though we know we may also choose the way of cowards and fools. But when we choose to live for others, we imitate Him whose whole life was (and is) for others, for us.

Someone said today we should pray, "Lord, show me my sins." I must confess, I lack the courage to do that. I will instead pray, "Show me your love," that perhaps my sins will be swallowed up in God's mercy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

He Set His Love On You

Have you ever taken God at His word, and put your own name in as you read a promise? It can be quite emotional, so fair warning. We're too hard on ourselves, you and me. And not usually in a pious way, but in self-condemnation, which is pride.

Rest in His love today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hallowed Be Thy Name

God has spoken to the world he made, so everything drips with his sanctity, his otherness. Every time we lament what is, and hope for what ought to be, we say it: Hallowed be Thy Name. Everything good testifies to God, and everything bad, by its incompleteness and absurdity, does the same thing.

You may have heard it said that evil has no existence in itself; it's a parasite of the good, a twisting of the virtues, in an ultimately futile effort to mock God. Most people aren't consciously aware of mocking God, so the question really becomes, "What other name are you hallowing?" Why?

Suppose "Father" were weighted with all the hope and expectation we all have, but we were not disappointed. Ever. "Home" and "family" meant what they are supposed to mean, forever, and fulfilled in a way we can't even begin to imagine. This is what you're hoping for when you go to Mass, and wouldn't you know, that's what's on offer. Still think going to church is pointless?


Monday, February 15, 2016

Stop Freaking Out About Trump

National polls are discernibly tightening. Rubio is catching Cruz. Bush and Kasich voters have to go somewhere. Even though The Donald is winning 35 percent in each state, that's about where the ceiling is. You can't win a nomination with 35 percent, or even 40.

Pat Buchanan won 4 out of the first 6 contests in 1996. He didn't come close to the nomination.

I not only believe Marco Rubio is the best choice for the nomination (and the presidency), I think he'll actually do it. The age of social media has amplified the rage, but also the fretting. We usually get it right, and we will again.

I do think we should continue pointing out Mr. Trump's lack of character especially, because it has done lasting damage. We are now legitimizing speech and behavior that is appalling. We're becoming desensitized. It's one thing to destroy pretension; it's quite another to destroy decorum and civility.

Peace

My friend Marco has been talking about it some, and not to shabbily, I might add, for a politician. When we know not just intellectually but really that God loves us and we're not alone, it spills over. And peace is the state of having loved and been loved. You don't lose anything when God loves you. His love is like a storm that doesn't destroy, but builds up.

I used to be the guy who spent a lot of energy trying to make other people feel comfortable. I'm pretty good at it. Yet all the while, I myself had no peace. Trying to give peace without having peace is a waste of time.

The basic prerequisite for peace is acknowledging that we are not God. Peace is the firm conviction that God is sovereign over our circumstances. When we act in that conviction, we really begin to change the world, as God's children and instruments.

Love

I'm supposed to be upset, or longing, or something. And I won't sit here and tell you that I don't want a relationship and marriage. But it's different now. I'm increasingly aware of giving, and not simply longing.

She won't have all this pressure to please me in all ways, because I don't need that. I'm going to give and receive love, and if it becomes erotic and romantic, fair enough. I like myself. I know I'm not alone. That's the most powerful reality we can know. God loves me, and I'm not alone.

We have heard it a million times, that a person cannot fill that most powerful desire, to be known and totally loved. But seriously. Why did I ever think that I was less a man, less a person, because no one has had sex with me? Have we ever articulated these hopes and fears, and stopped to ponder how silly they are?

There are a few people I know who probably thought about seeking a romantic relationship with me, but passed. Good reasons, bad reasons, or in between, it doesn't matter. You either leave people better than you found them, or you have missed the point of living. Friendship, romance, it's all the same. Lead people to God. Be led to God. That is success.

Dear God, I give you every hope and desire. Make it fruitful for your Kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.