Hell Is Proof That God Loves Us

sign heaven hellThe fact that hell exists is proof of God’s love.  Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love.  If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him.  Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice.  If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.

Does God pre-destine a soul to go to hell? The short answer is no.   According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church Predestined means that we are selected for divine adoption by an eternal decree of God (Eph 1:4). “Predestination is a mystery revealed but not fully understood; what we know for certain is that God is free to act as he chooses (Ps 135:6) and man is free to accept or reject his blessings (Rom 2:6-8; Sir 15:11-13). No one is predestined by God for eternal damnation” (CCC 1037).

hell

Predestined and predetermined are two different things.  We are in fact predestined for heaven.  The old Baltimore Catechism says this about why God created us: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”  This goes against the argument that some protestants have used to say God predestines some people to go to hell and there is nothing they can do to change it.  They believe that some people are  chosen and brought into existence for this purpose, to go to hell.  This is false.  God does not desire it nor does He bring into being a person so he can then “send” them to hell.

It is a person’s free will that destines a person for hell.  God’s gift of free will allows each person to choose heaven or hell.  There are two choices really.  “I am a handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to they word” as Mary said or “Not my will but thine be done” as Jesus said.  The alternative is  “I will not serve” which was the response of Lucifer.

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So how is one to understand how a person is “predetermined” to go to hell? When we understand the immaculate conception we understand predetermined. Why is this? Because the Immaculate Conception reveals the very timelessness of God.  God is outside of time and space.  God applied the graces merited by Jesus Christ on the cross and applied it to Mary at the moment of her conception.

How could He do that? Because God knew Mary would say yes.  This did not mean she did not get to chose it, it just means that because He is God He exists outside of space and time.  He is past present and future.  God knows no boundaries.  He knew she would say yes it happened already outside of time and he preemptively applied the grace.  This is of course my laymen terms for such a complex theology that only a theologian (which I am not) could explain it concisely.

future past present

You could say that Mary was predetermined to say yes and be the mother of God.  Bl Anne Catherine Emerich talks about this in her 4 volumes that Mel Gibson used to write the screen play for “The Passion”.  She said in her writings that God desired to bring about the salvation of the world sooner but it was not until St. Anne and St. Joachim that two loved like the trinity into which Mary was brought and in which she would say yes to being the mother of God that God could then move forward with His divine plan.  That shows you how much God honors our free will.  He won’t even save us unless we allow Him to, that is how much He respects our free will.

It is hard to understand how the graces merited on the cross by Jesus Christ were given to His mother before she was even born.  Another way to wrap ones head around this mystery is to contemplate the Eucharist.   At mass we experience Calvary.  It is because the Holy Sacrifice of the mass is able to pass outside of space and time, literally making present the body of Jesus Christ, that this is possible.  We are not re-creating Christ’s death and crucifixion, nor are we re-sacrificing Him, rather we step through a mystical veil of time and space and Calvary is made present.  We are at the foot of the Cross.

This is why we pray for the dead or why we ask for the Communion of Saints to pray for us.  Our prayers can bestow graces to them before their deaths.  We can pray for those who died and our prayers can merit graces that outside of time can be given to them before they died to help perfect their nature.  It is this mystery of timelessness that many of us cannot understand because we are temporal beings. We are bound by space and time but God is not.  The spiritual is not.  Angels pass through this veil easily because they are not bound time space as we are.  Perhaps this is why some Saints could bi-locate.  They could pass through the veil because it is a reality created by God to govern the physical realm.  However, we are spiritual and physical beings.  Therefore, we too are able to pass through the veil in ways known only to God and in our Glorified bodies we will move as fast as our thoughts and will pass through walls much like Christ did when manifested into the upper room.  He passed through the veil, the dimension that separates us.

At the moment of conception God creates a holy immortal soul and infuses it into the body of that child.  At that moment God knows all of the choices that person will make before they make them, never diminishing their free will.

choices

It is the choices they will make that will determine their final destination.  All souls are destined for heaven.  This is the the truth of the trinity because every person is created in the image and likeness of God who is Love.  God is love poured out and overflowing and in that excess of love He creates Holy immortal souls.  This means we are all created to love and be loved.  If we do not chose enter into that love we reject God (who is Love) and chose the alternative.

The fact that hell exists is another proof of God’s love.  Without a choice to go to hell there is no free will, there are no choices, there is no love.  If there was not a hell, then God could not honor our choice to reject Him.  Hell makes choosing God possible, without there is no choice.  If there were not a choice to go to hell we would be animals, without choice, relying on our instincts to dictate our lives.

God does not force himself on us but rather allows us to decide if we will be with Him forever in Heaven or if we will reject Him and spend eternity in Hell.  We will exist for all eternity, where we do it is up to us.

So if we are not predestined to go to hell are we predetermined to go to hell? What does predetermined mean? In this context predetermined means that before it happens it is already known to happen.   Souls are predetermined for hell because their choice of hell is known by God before they live it out.

James 1:13-15, “Let know one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.”

c.s lewis

It is our choice to sin that determines whether or not we spend eternity in hell.  When a soul is pre-determined to go to hell it means that God knows that they would reject Him regardless of His invitations or intersessions.   He knows it because He sees their decisions, sees into their personhood, knows their hearts and understands all of their choices and gives them the freedom to choose.

Free will is a very powerful thing.  Even the devil has no real power other than what our free will gives him.  When we submit our will to evil and enflesh it, that is when the devil is able to oppress us.  Free will is something we should all contemplate more.  It transcends space and time and can condemn a person before they are born (because a birthday is a time and God is outside time).  On a positive note, it can also save the entire human race.  Jesus and Mary are proof of that.

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Jesus is the answer, but what’s the question?

Have you ever noticed street preachers holding us signs that say “Jesus Is the Answer!” Perhaps, like me you wonder how effective that is. I have encountered many people in my travels and it seems to me that this sort of thing has the opposite effect from its intended purpose.

Many people have been hurt by “religious” people or perhaps “religious” beliefs that were in fact not religious at all. As a result they do not see an answer they see a subjective belief system filled with hate, judgment, condemnation and persecution. We are all told that “God is Love”. However, some how our society sees street preachers as preachers of hate and oppression.

It is as if we speak another language entirely. If we truly want to bring the mercy of Jesus Christ to our broken humanity then we need to know the question, not just the answer. We need to know how to speak the language of those we encounter. If I were in China I would speak Chinese. If I were in France I would speak French. If I am to evangelize in a world that worships status, fame, wealth, good looks or even being counter-cultural, then I need to know how to talk about these things in a way in which will identify what a person is seeking so that I can then speak a language that reveals that Jesus Christ is the answer.

We must first begin with; DESIRE. What is it that the person in front of desires? What is “their” question?

What do I mean by when I say we must know their question? What I mean is that we must get in touch with what people desire. What is it that they are hungry and longing for most in their lives? Usually people are afraid to come to Jesus because that means they must expose all of their brokeness as well as allow Him to break them open further. No one wants to be broken when they don’t have the graces to bear their inadequacies. Do you? I sure don’t.

So how do we begin? We must get in touch with the ache and longing inside of ourselves and learn to see it in others before we can ever effectively bring the Mercy and love of Jesus Christ to the world. Mercy is best understood when it is encountered rather than preached.

How Does Jesus Treat Sinners? With Mercy

How Does Jesus Treat Sinners? With Mercy

The basic human desire is to love and to be loved, to find meaning and truth in our lives. Why? Because God, Himself, put it there. It is what keeps them open and seeking the “answer” to this God given question.

When we tell others that God is infinite love and desires our union with Him for eternity, do they understand eternity as an endless succession of days or as a plunging into the infinite ocean of love in which we are simply overjoyed to be submerged?

We must learn the language that other people are speaking. We must listen to those we encounter and hear their ache, hear their longing and then we will know their question, without it we can not give them the answer.

language

What I have noticed is that there is a debilitating communication problem between those who have found the answer and those who are seeking it. If we do not overcome this barrier then we will be sound like the parents on the Charlie Brown cartoon. We will sound like patronizing blurs of sound that makes no sense to anyone but ourselves.

When we begin to understand the desires stirring inside of every person we meet, then and only then can we begin to speak a language they can receive. What do they really want? Do they want purpose? Do they want friendship? Do they want food? Do they want someone to just listen to them?

How did Jesus treat people? How? He was harsh with the religious Pharisees, the ones that placed rules and laws over mercy but he was not harsh with sinners. He was quite the opposite. He was merciful and loving and he spoke in a language they could receive.

We need to stop thinking that there is only one way to evangelize. God speaks many languages and we must learn them. He wants us to go into the streets and bring Jesus to those who are lost and wandering in the desert.

He wants us to evangelize in the supermarket; he wants us to evangelize on the sidewalk, he wants us to evangelize everyday and everywhere we go and if necessary use words.

We can bring Jesus Christ to someone in a bar. I recently met a lesbian woman that came up to my daughter and me. I did not know she was a lesbian at first. She was so delightfully friendly and wonderful and as the conversation went on it became apparent that she was actually trying to pick me up. I asked her if she was married and she told me she was in a same sex relationship. I told her that while I affirm her desire to be loved as good, I believed that marriage is only between a man and a woman. I asked her if she ever ached or longed to hold life in her womb or suckle a child at her breast? I reminded her of what an honor and privilege it is to be a woman, that men, no matter how much they desired or fought for the “right” to have children, could never ever be pregnant with life inside them nor could their breasts ever produce the perfect milk from which to nourish their own child.

Macierzyństwo, 1905 – Stanisław WyspiańskiMother Theresa

God put the desire to be mother in all women. Some are called to physical motherhood and some to spiritual motherhood but you cannot be a woman and not desire on some level to bring life into the world in some capacity. I taped into that desire because that is God’s truth. No matter of argument or discussion could ever tap into the ache that God planted into her being but God’s truth could. I knew that by touching upon that ache, I could awaken or perhaps bring to life that small seed planted within in her and perhaps with a new awareness of God, He could sprout it forth and bring it to life.

We discussed God, faith and so much more. She was upset at first that I did not agree with same sex marriage and she even tried to sell me on her belief that we can “choose” whether we are a man or woman telling me that it is just a “state of mind”.

tob

This is when I began to talk to her about Theology of The Body. She agreed with me that the body and mind and spirit are one. She then tried to justify her choosing to be male or masculine as proof of how our minds determine our sexuality. When I reminded her that she said her body and mind where one and that her body was intrinsically female and it is a contradiction to say your mind can chose something that is opposite of your body when the two are supposed to be one, she became confused.

Remember, many people have lost the ability to critically thing through information separate from their emotions or feelings or beliefs on a subject. If you try to challenge their beliefs, they see only judgment or condemnation, not an invitation to rationally discuss the theological implications of sexuality. I told this woman that if we took cheek cells of hers and put it onto a slide any scientist would determine she is a woman because she does not carry an Y chromosome. She can fight for her right to be a man, she can cut off her breasts or take hormones to make her facial hair grow, but she cannot become a male because she is female.

She had been raised Catholic and was told she was going to hell (her words not mine) and was condemned by her mother and her siblings and her faith community. She was raised here in the midwest but because she was persecuted she moved to California where she was loved and accepted. She was thoroughly confused that I could be both Catholic and yet still loving and affirming her. Several times she asked me if I was a “real” Catholic. To her, I could not be a “real” Catholic because they would never go to a bar, they would never talk to a lesbian, they would never have a discussion but would instead force a rhetoric down her throat.

Our time together was like a complicated dance in which I allowed her to lead. I listened to the meanings behind her words so I could understand her beliefs, her judgments, her questions. I then allowed her to lead the conversation and I followed her answering the questions she asked using her own language, her own words so that their meanings would be understood.

By the end of the conversation, my hope was that she saw I was not giving an opinion or judgment that a woman cannot be a man and vice versa but that she was a created by God as a woman and that it is very good and God has a plan for her life and her being a woman is intimately tied to that truth.

My only intention was to get her to see the beauty of being woman and that her call to love and be loved is stamped into her body. I tried to love her, right where she was and only talked about the what she desired to talk about but gave her Jesus over and over.

field

Why did I let her lead? Because this is where she was “open”. This is where the Holy Spirit had plowed her open like a field in preparation to receive the divine seed of truth. To cast seeds elsewhere would be in vain. She showed me where she was ready to receive and I prayed to the Holy Spirit to guide me so that He could enter into her heart and begin to grow where He had made her ready. It was no coincidence that we met and that this conversation took place in the most unlikely of places. This was divine providence. She was led to me and I to her so that Jesus could woo her to himself.

slipper

We are like the footman in the movie Cinderella. Jesus Christ goes to the ends of the earth to find us, he turns no person away. We are to help invite people to try on the glass slipper which is a sign of our dignity and our inheritance and deliverance from the evils of the world. The difference is that the slipper fits everyone. It conforms to the person that is trying it on. We bring the invitation and when they see it fits them despite their sins, they too will see they are called to be crowned bride to the prince.

So are you ready? Are you ready to find out the questions on the hearts of so many souls wandering in the desert? We are all longing for something and though Jesus is the answer, sometimes we must begin with the question. Mercy must be encountered not preached. If you want to teach Jesus Christ as the answer, then begin by becoming Jesus Christ to those people God places in your life. Once you know the question, it will be your own growth and transformation in Christ that will enable you to share the answer. Go out and invite people to the marriage feast of the lamb!

wedding feast

We must answer the question ourselves first. We must say yes to the marriage proposal before we can invite others to do the same. We must become transformed ourselves. We must receive Jesus; conceive His love deep in our own hearts, minds and souls. We must grieve the places we have failed and in this place where we are broken, we must birth Him forth into the world. It is from our places of brokeness that He will most perfectly triumph over evil and with prayer He will sustain us. When the enemy comes to tell you that you cannot do this, remember, “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” Philippians 4:13

How to Overturn Roe Vs. Wade

“I survived Roe Vs. Wade but Roe Vs. Wade will NOT survive me!” were the words proclaimed by a young 12 year old girl named Zoe at the Youth Rally held in the Hyatt Regency this year at this years March For Life gathering in Washington DC.

While at the March For Life in Washington DC this year I encountered many, many amazing pro-life speakers and apostolates. However there was one person in particular that moved me to tears and made my heart rise into my throat as she spoke. “I survived Roe Vs. Wade but Roe Vs. Wade will NOT survive me!” were the words proclaimed by a young 12-year-old girl named Zoe.
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As I listened to her passionate cry for an end to abortion and listened to the cheers of the huge crowd united in purpose and passion echoing her, I asked myself this question. What can we do to ensure that Zoe’s children do not have to grow up in a country that does not protect unborn children? This is the answer I came up with.
unity
We must Unite, Encourage and Unify In Our Purpose. The opposite of that is to Divide, Discourage and Distract, which is what the enemy does to pro-life ministries and apostolates.

We Must Unite

The enemy divides us using Selfishness. It causes persons to say “do it my way or no way” because my way is best. Lack of Fellowship says you go your way and I’ll go my way because I will not share any of my resources. This is why we still have not found a cure for breast cancer. The labs have patented their research; they do not share their work or their findings or their resources to accomplish their common goal. They are competitors and not co-workers. However, I would propose that it is in sharing that we would cover more ground and get faster results. Together we can be much more powerful than working alone.
encourage

Let us be Co-workers not competitors. When we disassociate ourselves because someone has hurt our feelings or slighted us, we allow ourselves to separate from the pack. It’s like a lion that separates a gazelle from the pack. It is easier to attack when it is on it’s own. We are divided and eventually we fall from disappointments, discouragements, distractions and division. We are all flawed, so it is not easy to work together but if we want to overturn Roe Vs Wade, we must find a way.

Blessed Mother Theresa said that when Christ draws us close to Himself, the thorns on His crown will pierce our forehead as He leans in to kiss our cheek. There is suffering in this life and I am guessing that in Pro-life ministry there is a lot of suffering. Why? There are two reasons. One, many people in the pro-life movement are part of the walking wounded. They know the pain and ache of abortion and that’s why they want to help bring an end to it. Secondly, because Christ suffers in seeing the murder of the innocent unborn and the lack of reverence for life by those that participate in it. If you give your life to be with Him in this battle, your going to suffer with Him. So what are we to do? Bear one another’s shortcomings patiently, love one another and He loves us and finally we should embrace the suffering that comes from this work, knowing that we are perfected in suffering.

We Must Encourage

It is in the encouraging of one another’s success and helping others that we become encouraged. It is in giving that we receive. Each ministry and apostolate plays a part, no matter how different, and that part is crucial in this battle. We are many parts but we are all one body. My leg cannot hear and toes cannot see but I need my legs and I need my toes. There are so many ministries involved in this pro-life movement and all of them are necessary and none are more important or better or worse than another.

Well, actually they are all the “best” in their area. Those fighting in the political arena are much better at it than a sidewalk counselor and a ministry training side walk counselor is better at that than a ministry that works with politicians to create pro-life legislature, both are important and necessary.
Wherever God has called you to fight this fight, be encouraged because it is the MOST IMPORTANT PLACE YOU CAN BE. We need you all right where you are at, but we need to unite so we can encourage one another and help one another in our fight.
from god

We Must Unify In Purpose

Finally, we need to unify in purpose. What is the goal? It should be to save souls. Our goal is to bring Christ to others in and through our own life. Each and every person is a unique and unrepeatable person, created by God, with an immortal soul. Isn’t our goal to save souls? When we realize the goal is to save souls we remember to be charitable in every thought action and deed.

When we remember the goal is to save souls, we remember that Shawn Carney of 40 days for life sat in his kitchen with David Bereit and said “what can we do to bring down the number of abortions?” Through their exploration of that question they began an apostolate that is one of the most successful initiatives I have ever seen cross denominational lines as well as borders to countries, in closing down abortion clinics. Their focus on the goal of saving souls, allowed their hearts to love Abby Johnson right out of being a director of Planned Parenthood. Now, the fruit of their efforts has brought Abby into the pro-life movement and she is now focusing on the goal. She too is now working to bring more souls out of the abortion industry.

Does it matter if there are abortion clinics on every corner in America if no works in them and no one ever goes in? We must Unite, encourage and unify in our purpose and then we will become the Culture of Life, Love and Truth that accurately reflects the face of God.

Thank you Zoe, you reminded me that God raises up people every day to fight for Him and I am confident that Roe Vs. Wade will NOT survive your generation just so long as we all work together toward our common goal.

How about a Pro-life conference on the 40th Anniversary of Roe Vs Wade to showcase where we have been and what we have done so we can educate and train those that attend so we do not have 40 more years. I would love to see a pro-life conference out of Chicago (make it central) that features pro-life speakers helping others to unite in purpose and resources.

We have now created so many great ministries we need them all to come together and network. Have them donate the speakers fee’s so that everyone can come. Have it be a weekend conference so there are speakers Friday Night through Sunday. Some people can come just for Saturday or all of it, they can pick which parts are suited to their calling in this war.

The cost of tickets could cover the event. There could be a teen rally going on simultaneously. There can be several workshops to choose from How to start a blog, how to use media, how to raise money, how to get volunteers, how to do sidewalk counseling, how to support your legislatures, how to start a pro life high school group, how to write a book, how to make a movie, how to start a support group for healing etc.

We could have keynotes as well as workshops in different areas. Here are some examples of the kind of speakers it should have.

Father Pavone speaking on faith and politics
Avede King; Abortion as Genocide to African Americans and Hispanic Communities
Abby Johnson: How to Convert the Workers of Abortion Clinics
Shawn Carney/David Bereit: Coordinating 40 days for life in your area
Mnsgr Reilly, Helpers; Side Walk Counseling how love and prayer converted Bernard Nathanson
Pam Stenzel: Conceived by Rape sharing our personal stories to convert hearts
Rebecca Kiessling: Conceived by Rape
Jason Jones: Being Present in Hollywood
Spirit Juice Studios: How to Make Films that are pro-life
John Morales: Father Hearts
Fr Tadeusz Pacholczyk: Fetal Stem Cell Research and Medical Ethics
Bobby Schindler: Euthanasia
eduardo verastegui: Being a Pro-life actor
Dr. Janet Smith: Contraception Why Not?
Damon Owens: Theology of The Body understanding the meaning of fruitful love
Lila Rose: Uncovering Scandal through Investigating journalism using New Media
Vicky Thorn: Project Rachel offering healing after abortion
Jeannie Hanneman: Elizabeth Ministries Establishing a pro-life presence in Churches (rose program)
Christina King: Our Lady of Guadalupe as an Icon for Life, Love and New Evangelization
Will Goodman: Sidewalk Counseling
Fr. Chris Crotty: Fathers of Mercy Priest Spiritual Warfare abortion as a demonic sacrament
Fr. Grob: Spiritual Warfare
Zac King: Ex-Satanist and knowledgable about abortion as sacrifice

Treasure In Earthen Vessels; God Works Through Cracked Pots (UPDATED 10-28-2012)

SCROLL TO BOTTOM TO HEAR THE TALK I GAVE AND SEE THE PREZI/PRESENTATION I GAVE TO 1,000 WOMEN)

The story of the woman at the well is a marriage proposal and is a great place to begin in sharing how we are treasures in earthen vessels. It is strangely reminiscent of the song we sang as children “first comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. First there was God who is love. Then the word was made flesh. Jesus is the Bridegroom.

That childhood song was a song about the holy Trinity and the call of our God into the marriage relationship of the bride and bridegroom and how we will be transformed into new creations. Theology of the Body gives us a beautiful lens from which to fully understand what the old Baltimore catechism said when it said we were created to know love and serve God to give you him forever in heaven.

The woman at the well is symbolic of all of our brokenness because of the sin in our lives, all of the inadequacies and all of the ways in which we fall short and yet God comes to us and seeks us out.

This is the marriage proposal. We are made for connection we are made for relationship.

Where we struggle in this is when SHAME gets in the way of allowing others to truly see who we are or to allow others to truly see us.

That’s where vulnerability comes in.

VULNERABILITY IS NOT WEAKNESS. How many think it takes vulnerability to speak in front of an audience of 800 people? It is true that vulnerability involves emotional risk and uncertainty but what vulnerability really means is to have courage.

Vulnerability is birthplace of creation and transformation. To create is to make something that never existed before like the unique and unrepeatable person. When we have the courage to really open ourselves to look into our hearts and even more importantly let others really and truly “see” us, we become transformed. “ Grace perfects our nature”.

In the garden, we were naked without shame.

“Naked without shame” is about knowing who we were as persons made in Gods image and likeness and our nature was perfect. When we fell from Grace due to original sin shame entered into the world.

Shame is the devil’s proposal about who God is and who we are.

Shame says one of two things; “you will never be good enough” or “who do you think you are”.

Adam and Eve covered themselves because they said yes to the devil’s proposal. Because they were unwilling to be vulnerable enough to go to God and trust in who He said we are, they fell and the consequence was sin.

A very basic understanding of sin is separation from God. In the Old Testament sin is described as a transgression. It is not just a violation of the law, but because the law was meant to protect as persons and to protect our world and our environment and God’s creation it is also a violation of God and violation of us so every time we separate from God and transgress upon his will we transgress upon ourselves and of all of creation. Sin, missing the mark and falling short of the glory of God. So with three

Sin has its effects always in wounding. Sin always wounds. There is no sin that doesn’t wound. It wounds us and it wounds others around us. We have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.

What SHAME does is it takes the guilt we feel and turns the belief of “What I did was bad” into the belief that “I am bad”.

SHAME then makes us feel that we are unworthy of connection. It is in believing we are not thin enough, beautiful enough, successful enough or smart enough that SHAME turns our focus from who we are as unique and unrepeatable persons into who we think we “should be” or “should be doing”.

Shame makes us feel we are not good enough and that we will never be good enough.

The story of the woman at the well reminds us of whom we truly are which is the beloved of the Bridegroom and that God desires to marry us.

God knows all the places we have failed him and will fail him and yet he created us anyways. Out of all of the potential people God could’ve created we were chosen to be created and to come into the world to exist in fact of this very particular time in history.

But it gets better than this! God is calling all of us to enter into the redemption of the world! God could have chose to redeem the world anyway he liked. What he decided was that he wanted all of us to enter into this great work with him.

He does this by transforming our wounds much like his own were from the power of the cross. His “cracks” were in fact the greatest gift given to the entire world. Our wounds, our cracks, our inadequacies become the very place, once transformed like a firing kiln to a clay pot, becomes the very form from which God can best shine through, pour out of and be given to others. He is magnified by our smallness and our weakness.

God is calling you and is issuing a marriage proposal in which He desires to transform you and touch the lives of those around you through your fiat.

A treasure in earthen vessels is about our unique and unrepeatable personhood, it is about our immortal soul chosen by God to be called into existence. The earthen vessel reveals that the person we are is feminine or masculine and also is a sign that we are called to love like the trinity. But the earthen vessel also speaks to us about form.

Form, and the material from which it is made reveal its purpose. If I held up a cup and asked, “What is it?” unless we were from another world where they do not use cups, we would know it is a cup and that it holds liquid. We know understand what it is because of its form

Our form is meant to be a visible sign of Christ to the world. It is not just our masculine or feminine person that our form reveals but it tells a story of the Bride and the Bridegroom.

In Caryll Houselander’s book “The Reed of God” she uses three forms to reveal how Christ “shines” through our cracks”, The reed, the chalice, and the birds nest.

The Reed grows on the riverbanks and must be cut with a knife and then hallowed out with notches cut into it to create its form. Some of our stories include this kind of shaping. We are cut and hallowed out. We may think that we have nothing to give, our brokenness, or even our sinfulness might make us believe that God could never possibly choose us. The woman at the well is a reminder that God does chose us and when we allow him to redeem us, it is as if we are pressed to the lips of the master and when His Spirit blows through the reed, lyrical music is created because of the hallowing out and the notches that had been cut.

Some of our stories are like a chalice. A chalice is made from gold that has to be first hewn from the mud, then forged in fire before it can be poured into it’s mold. It then has to be pounded by a mallet to create its form. For those whose forming came from the succession of blows or from the purification of fire, they may understand that they are like Gold, that they are good, but they may not believe themselves worthy of greatness. It is the age-old question “Who do you think you are? If we remember that we are the beloveds of Christ, that He called us into being that we are His, then we remember who we are. A chalice is used to offer the great sacrifice of the mass. For those whose form is like the chalice, God desires to fill you with the water and blood that gushed from His sacred heart so that through your form you can pour Him out to a thirsting world.

Finally, for those who are shaped like the nest of a bird, the soft downy feathers of a tender mother bird’s breast create the form. For those who may have been formed by loving parents, in a prayerful home and have no painful formation as part of their story the temptation could be to say that they do not have a unique or inspiring story. Those whose story includes love, fidelity and affirmation are not only hope and inspiration for the world but it also creates a person more fully capable of revealing Christ. This story is an example of how each of us is called to become tabernacles.

We are to bring Christ to the world with our own hands and feet, with our own stories.

Each of our stories is as unique as our fingertips, as unique as our personhood.

We are the vessel and form helps us to tell the story of who Christ is and who we are in Christ. We should never underestimate the power of conversion to work through even the most broken of vessels.

Lazarus is an example of just such a vessel. He was dead. A rotting corpse and according to chief mourners “stinking” and yet when Christ shone through Lazarus, an entire city and now every generation to come, was converted through his story and through his form.

For me, my form is the reed. I have been hallowed out, whittled and cut into. The story I have to tell is of being transformed through my children and my husband.

I’ve been able to identify specific attributes or virtues that God has helped to develop in me for each one of my children.

For Maegan it was vulnerability, for Sara it was selfless love, for Elisha it was the need of affirmation, for Gabriel it was submission, for Annamarie it was long-suffering, for Mercedes it was Mercy, for Christopher it was joy, for Jonah it was perseverance.

For each child I have received a healing of a major wound, crack, or notch cut into me. God transformed it and the grace He has given to me in each of these areas have brought me freedom to love more rightly

Each time I was cracked, wounded or cut into because of my sin or the sin of others, the enemy proposed a lie so to enter into my heart and bring me to a place of shame.

Christ helps to expose the lies and bring healing to our wounded hearts and when we become vulnerable and allow Him in to truly see us, Christ transforms our wounds and they become like stained glass windows illuminating and radiating God’s beauty, God’s light, God’s truth to the world.

They will know us by our joy they will know us by our love. In this year of faith we are called to transformation. The new evangelization is about allowing Christ to permeate us. We embrace our greatness when we dare to take what we know in our heads and connect it to our hearts. When we move from knowing God, to being in an intimate relationship with Him.

When we allow ourselves to truly be seen and to really see the person God puts in front of us everyday is when we enter into one another’s story of redemption. God works through cracked pots, because His greatness is magnified in our weakness. The truth is that the enemy puts salt in our wounds because he is terrified that if we actually go into the wounds and bring Christ there with us, we would discover that when Christ redeems them, they become like jewels in the Crown of the creator.

You are a treasure in an earthly vessel and your form reveals a call to love and to be loved from the bridegroom to His bride. All it takes is your “fiat” which is the greatest “I DO” you can ever utter.

LISTEN TO MY TALK HERE

http://archive.org/details/TreasureInEarthenVesselsGodWorksThroughCrackedPots

HERE IS THE SLIDESHOW

http://prezi.com/rf8re5qrwol-/treasure/

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

LISTENING TO SHAME