Faith as Verb

I hate grammar. I hate identifying parts of a sentence, I probably can not tell you the difference between an adjective and an adverb. Multi-variable calculus makes more sense to me. Who knows, blogging could be some form penance for me. However in my knowledge of English grammar, I can tell you the difference between a noun and a verb. A noun is a person, place, thing or an idea. A verb is an action or state of being. (Thank you Mrs. Angel my 1st grade teacher.)

This week, my parish is hosting a mission with Deacon Ralph Poyo, who is an amazing speaker and Evangelist. I’ve had the opportunity to hear him speak before but there is one line he often says that catches me off guard, which I am paraphrasing form memory. “Faith has two definitions, a noun and a verb. Faith as noun is the knowledge we learn from Catechism classes. Faith as a verb is the action that we take with God.”

Amid all the other mind blowing information he imparted last night I couldn’t help but think of my little corner of the blogosphere. What am I doing to act out faith as a verb? I have some head knowledge but how does it translate to my heart and how I govern my actions?

In my time as a youth minister and wife, I’ve needed to step out in faith. Where to take jobs, when to look for them, where I’ve moved to and people I associate with. Aside from that, I haven’t taken any bold movements of faith. I don’t speak up about injustice, fear and sin because I’ve let fear hold me back.

In the past I’ve been holding onto faith as noun, my books, conversations and gleanings from people that are far wiser than I. Now it is time to get moving into the right direction and live out faith as verb, to truly be defined by faith. This year I will revamp the site and maybe move off word press and share more of my experiences of living my faith rather than sharing it. Who is ready for a new journey? I am.

From here forward, I am going to try and have new content every Monday. That way I can share more prayers, plans, and ponderings. Let’s move forward in 2013.

O Emmanuel

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

 

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,

the hope of the nations and their Saviour:

Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Emmanuel, God with us.

When I moved back to my native Minnesota, I needed to get a new driver’s license. My Iowa license was still valid but, I still needed to take a test to show the state that I knew how to operate a car. I took the test and passed and now have my Minnesota driver’s license. No you cannot see the picture.

Christmas is so very close and in the same way the DMV wanted to know if I could drive; I can almost hear the Jewish people of Jesus’ time saying, show me. If you are God or if my God exists, show me. Just like we the people of today wanting everything at face value. The voices of many say, “A baby is our Savior? Show me.”

We all know the story of the Nativity. The star, the manger, the inn, shepherds, Wise Men, and the angels. They were definitely shown the way. Yet there are times when my doubting Thomas comes out, “Please God, show me.”

Marybabyj_1

The Emmanuel wasn’t what the Jewish people expected. The Jewish people wanted someone who would free them from the oppressive Roman occupation. A great general, a fighter, an adult. Yet he comes, meek and gentle, waiting for us to come to him.

This can be said for our everyday spiritual journey. God waits patiently for us to come to him. We have choices to make through our free will. Most people would come running to a screaming baby left alone. Picture this though, Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem is content in his mother’s arms. He is unassuming and small. Will you come and be shown?

O Rex Gentium

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O King of the nations,

and their desire,

the cornerstone making both one:

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay.

Between Genesis chapter 1 and 2 we have the great accounts of how God created the human race.  Whether you believe that we were originally created from clay or not, There is no doubt that we are fashioned from our beginning by God.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.

Psalms 139: 13-14

It is not that we are born and forgotten but that we are loved even greater because we are created in the image and likeness of God. While people will often remind us that we are male and female, all different ethnicities and different, it does not diminish our value as human beings.

Being made in the image and likeness of God, comes from our very souls. Our souls are created to live on after our bodies decay. Our souls are immortal, they have a definite beginning and will have no end. This is similar to God who is eternal, He has no beginning and he has no end.

That being said St. Augustine reminds us “that our hearts are restless, until we rest in thee, O Lord.” This echos the greatness that every person is created in, from natural conception to natural death.

With two days until the vigil, please pray for those who have passed and are able to fully see the greatness of God this Christmas.

O Oriens

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O Morning Star,

splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:

Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Growing up in Northern Minnesota, I remember eating breakfast in the kitchen and looking out the window seeing the morning star during the winter months. It was the only star I could see with the kitchen light on during the winter months, so it had to be important. So too, the Wise Men found their star something curious to behold as well.

We know that these men had been following the star for a minimum of two years before reaching Bethlehem. We can make this assumption based on Herod killing all infant males that were two and younger. (Matthew 2:16) Think about it though, two years, following a star to God knows where, (pun intended), carrying money and provisions for the whole trip. These were men who probably had no knowledge of the Jewish law or if they did, probably did not ascribe to it, and they were still drawn by a star.

They were considered outsiders, people who would not have been accepted under Jewish law, but that doesn’t stop God. These were people who were in the darkness, separated from God, and they were drawn to a baby lying in a manger.

But now, what are we drawn by. Media is everywhere and there are many things trying desperately to gain our focus and our attention. I fail at this myself. I look at something shiny and am drawn off the path I want to be on. I search again, and I am caught in awe and faith by a star. So journeying on again I go, even if it takes me more than two years.

O Clavis David

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel;

you open and no one can shut;

you shut and no one can open:

Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,

those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

The Key of David actually doesn’t remind me to look backwards but rather to look forwards.

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16: 18-19

Jesus himself knew that he was coming to be the covenant for many. He knew his death would be opening of the gates of Heaven for all. Growing up, the church I went to incorporated icons into the liturgical seasons. Although this isn’t the exact icon that would be present at times in our parish, the story it tells is the same. Our resurrected Savior has come, and he is also raising those who have already died to their new lives. Traditionally, it is believed that Adam was the first person that Jesus raised to this new life.

Those who died in faith prior to the death of Jesus were held as prisoners in their death. They were not held in Hell as we think of it, but they were not allowed to enter Heaven either. The faithful departed existed in a “lesser hell” that one priest explained to me was like a huge waiting room at the doctor’s office and the wait just kept getting longer and longer. They were waiting for their Diving Physician to render the final blow on death.

So too now we wait for him to come again. We wait for a time of peace, joy, hope and love. We wait for a place where we hear this:

“Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.” The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”

Revelations 21: 3 – 5

Come O Key of David, for we wait anxiously for you.

O Radix Jesse

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the people’s; 

before you kings will shut their mouths,

to you the nations will make their prayer:

Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns is “Lo’ How a Rose e’re Blooming.” It is a melancholy tune that reminds me of the dark times that the Jewish people were waiting in. They didn’t know when their savior was coming, Jerusalem was under Roman occupation, the Jewish people were war-weary, and they were in a stretch with really no clear prophets.  Many had thought that God had forgotten them. Then we remember that God never forgets his promises.

Through out the Old Testament, we see many of God’s promises and how they were fulfilled. Through all the promises, God promised that we would be reunited with him someday. This wasn’t always easy for people to remember but it was a constant reminder for the Jews of that time. Today we have Catholics on every continent but we should remember that in many areas of the world Catholics are still persecuted. They are not seen as equals and are often treated as lesser citizens. We are still waiting to be delivered.

As we look ahead to the birth of the infant Jesus, we still must be reminded that we are looking forward to the Second Coming of Jesus. That coming may be with our own deaths when we are judged on our lives, or it may be the Coming of Christ in Glory. Only God knows the day and the hour.

On this day please remember all your loved ones who are not able to be with you this Christmas and say a prayer for them.

O Adonai

In a year I have a new readership base. The O Antiphons are my favorite preparation to Christmas and I wanted to share these short posts I have from previous years. Please check back through the rest of the week for a new reflection each day. Minor edits have been made.

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,

who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush

and gave him the law on Sinai:

Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

When we think of God, we don’t often like thinking of the connotation of Master. Lord, I can handle, but Master, is asking a bit too much. Society has often placed before us the desire to be our own master, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, I’ll do it my way. However, our Master doesn’t truly ask for much. Obedience, service, and compassion seem to top the list. We have the Ten Commandments, the Virtues,  the Catechism, nothing too outrageous, unless it conflicts with what I want.

While there are times when we believe that we are doing the right thing by not helping others or not wanting to interfere with others lives,  Saint Bernard of Clairvaux is quoted as saying “Hell is full of good intentions and desires.” As Catholics, we need to remember a tiny thing called the Sins of Omission, those sins we have committed because of what we did not do. I didn’t correct someone speaking wrongly about the Catholic faith, I didn’t help the person struggling to open the door, I didn’t do what I am called to do under the law.

“The law, the law, the law; laws are subjective and shouldn’t impose beliefs on me.”

I think we can all agree that the Ten Commandments are more than just a great moral code, they are a true gift from God which we have promised to uphold and obey.

The gift of the commandments and of the Law is part of the covenant God sealed with his own. In Exodus, the revelation of the “ten words” is granted between the proposal of the covenant and its conclusion – after the people had committed themselves to “do” all that the Lord had said, and to “obey” it. The Decalogue is never handed on without first recalling the covenant (“The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.”)

Catechism of the Catholic Church 2060

Here’s the truth though, we’re human. Sin and fault is unfortunately part of our lives. We are in need of a redeemer who will guide us and help us on our journey. One that will lead us, guide us, and forgive us when we do stumble and fall.