HEAVEN OR HELL, one thing we know for sure is that our soul is meant for eternity. Our words, our actions, our faith, will hold us accountable.
Most of us are good people, in that we try to do the right thing, but oftentimes our ego gets in the way.
To repeat a phrase that I find has great value: Your ego is not your amigo.
Most of us, not all of us, have a need to be heard, listened to. We know we are right, and why can’t everyone see that? Unless we are our own boss, we have all experienced this.
A couple things can happen here. Bitterness can set in or something else. It is this “something else” that has spiritual value.
Utopia is a term Thomas More, the saint, coined about 500 years ago. It has Greek origin and it really means no place, or an “imaginary place.” Utopia doesn’t exist, in other words. Kind of like Middle Earth.
As humans, we’d like it to exist. We even expect it to exist. If people listened to me, we might say, it would exist.
Recognize that we are fallen creatures, completely imperfect. If you’ve ever been disappointed by someone you thought was the cat’s pajamas, or you were that person who fell from the pedestal, then join the club of humanity. This is not an excuse to be intentionally bad, just a recognition that life is messy, so to speak.
How you react to adversity is the key. Can you lay that ego aside and literally ask Jesus for help? Because that is the key. Egos prevent us from seeking help. We want to road-grade our way into our own utopia, whether momentary or not, because we are convinced our cause is just.
Mother Teresa had a saying: “God does not expect perfection, just obedience.” In case you are wondering, this is obedience to God.
How do you do that? Develop a relationship with Jesus. People are intrigued by those who seem to have a true relationship with God. Even King Herod, who greased the beheading of John the Baptist, was intrigued.
“When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him” (Mark 6:20). John spoke the truth, and that was the “intriguing” part for Herod.
John was the final prophet before Jesus. It was his duty to proclaim the truth. We are not prophets, but through baptism, we have received graces and spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit, and it is in our domain to proclaim the truth — it is our duty, too — but not an ego-driven opinion.
To discern the difference is the mark of a Christian.
As we seek God, trying to walk closer with him, we actually may find our lives becoming quieter. This natural occurrence is giving space and time to God, and once you begin on this road, it is difficult to go back to society’s bombardment of noise.
Silence is absolutely necessary in moving forward in the spiritual life. The Virgin Mary, mother of God, demonstrates this well in the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Twice we see from her that she “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” Perhaps this is meekness, but we know that is a good thing, for they will “inherit the earth,” as Jesus proclaims in his Beatitudes.
Back on Nov. 3, 2014, trumpet player Chris Botti performed the national anthem on Monday Night Football, and amid the disquieting uproar today, it is good to remember when the beauty of a song can bring football players to tears, as it did this night. It is worth YouTube-ing.
“Nothing attracts attention — in a good way — like a sincerely held belief. If nothing else, it provokes curiosity. And it can reveal a longing in others to belong to something greater than themselves and lets them know who they can ask about it” (blogger Susie Lloyd).
May our quiet witness and our walk with God enrich ourselves and those around us. And may we try to be faithful, always, to the truth. Mahalo and aloha.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Mike Acheson is director of religious education at Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church in Port Angeles and St. Joseph Parish in Sequim.