Be Here

“The world is the unquiet city of those who live for themselves and therefore are divided against one another in a struggle that cannot end.” – Thomas Merton

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Romans 13:11-12

You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

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I believe St. Paul’s great awakening came in that fateful experience he had on the road to Damascus.

At the time, he was known as Saul.

He was basically terrorizing Christians because he thought he was doing what God wanted him to do.

As the scripture tells it: “On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:3-4)

The voice identified as Jesus.

Saul, who would become known as Paul, realized in a shocking, mystical moment, that by persecuting Christians he was persecuting Jesus himself.

Hence, Paul realized that there is one body of Christ.

What you do to the one, you do to all.

Paul is awakened to the great truth that there is only this moment; this is the time.

And in this moment, all are one.

This is our salvation – meaning path to wholeness.

All the works of darkness must be dropped.

Those works are acts that simply aim to satisfy the false self which mistakenly believes it is set apart from others.

The armor of light shines upon these areas of darkness so they can be clearly seen as delusions of separation from the Oneness of all.

As Paul states: “the day is at hand.”

It’s right here.

As Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21).

It’s within you.

You are already one with the One who created you.

All are one in this Oneness, the great “I AM”; God if you prefer – Love itself.

But the false self fears the demise of its autonomy.

It objects to being one with others.

Hence, Jesus teaches to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

This is our disorienting dilemma.

What will we do?

Jesus instructed: Lose your life to find your life. (Matthew 10:39)

Let go of the delusion of separation and be free.

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Listen to the song of the day “Pour Me Out” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

My 4 albums and 2 books (Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart) are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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The Evolution of Love

“Woven into our lives is the very fire from the stars and genes from the sea creatures, and everyone, utterly everyone, is kin in the radiant tapestry of being.” – Elizabeth Johnson

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Psalm 96:11-12

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice.

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If God is love as scripture states then we are all made by the creative energy of Love.

And not just us humans, but everything else!

Everything that is, is part of the isness of all.

Everything is a part of the great “I Am” as God self-identified to Moses.

We all yearn for oneness or wholeness with the Whole, the Source, what we call God.

Love is written in the creative action of all cells.

As theologian and scientist Ilia Delio writes in her book The Unbearable Wholeness of Being:

“Love is the law of evolution written on the human heart. We are created to love and to evolve in love. Unless we wake up to this reality we will continue to devolve and block evolution’s thrust toward more consciousness and being.”

Jesus knew this intimately.

He embodied the Creative-Word, and it was “made flesh and lived among us” as it says in the Gospel of John, chapter one verse 14.

Jesus reached out in love to include all those on the margins.

He restored them to communities and restored the sick to health.

Jesus took part in the evolutionary process of making wholes.

This same Creative Word is becoming flesh in you and me if we cooperate.

It’s also incarnating in all of creation.

There is a joyful noise, a symphony of love, emanating from all that is.

Do you hear it?

Are you listening?

Are you looking?

We are immersed in glory!

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Listen to the song of the day “How Magnificent, Wondrous and Glorious” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

My 4 albums and 2 books (Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart) are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Come Together

“To love is to recognize yourself in another.” – Eckhart Tolle

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2 Thessalonians 3:5

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.

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Let me start by stating one of my most quoted scripture verses from the first letter of John, chapter 4, verse 8: God is love.

The vast majority of the people who have had a Near Death Experience also say over and over that they experienced a glorious Light that exuded more love than they could put into words.

If you follow Jesus, you will realize that he personified what it means to be in communion with God; or should I say, in communion with Love itself.

Jesus operated from the heart level.

He showed compassion to those on the margins; to those left out; to the sick and the dying.

When you love those people, you are loving God.

This is what St. Paul prays for in today’s scripture verse.

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God.”

If you follow Jesus, he will direct your heart to the love of God.

He will direct you to love all people.

And St. Paul prays that Jesus will also direct your hearts “to the endurance of Christ.”

For Paul, Christ is much bigger than the historical Jesus.

Christ is the Creative Energy of the Cosmos.

This Creative Energy has infinite power.

This Christ is available now for all people to tap into.

It’s coursing through you.

Consciously connect to it by letting go and turning inward.

As Psalm 46, verse 11 states:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Be still and know that I am.

Be still and know.

Be still.

Be.

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Listen to the song of the day “Breathe On Me” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

My 4 albums and 2 books (Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart) are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Restoring Wholeness

“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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Luke 19:1-10

Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”  But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

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Today’s gospel reading is full of meaning.

In this story, Jesus is on the road doing his ministry.

He’s sharing the good news of God’s unconditional love for all people and confronting the powers that be to stop oppressing those at the bottom and to treat them fairly and equally.

But Jesus intends to pass right through Jericho – until he spots this short man up in a tree.

Jesus, always open to the Spirit’s movement, follows the inner nudge to call upon Zacchaeus.

Tax collectors were despised by the people of Israel because they were seen as traitors working for the Roman oppressors.

Zacchaeus wasn’t just a tax collector – he was a chief tax collector.

He was wealthy off the backs of his own people.

Wouldn’t you think Jesus would ridicule him and give him a good scolding?

No! Jesus does the opposite.

He invites himself to stay at the tax collector’s house.

How could he?

How could Jesus have anything to do with such a sinner?

This is what the people were saying.

The openness of Jesus to be with his enemy and spend time with him, to actually be in relationship with him, is what transforms Zacchaeus.

Jesus knew that we are all children of God no matter how far off course we may roam.

Zacchaeus agrees to give half his possessions to the poor and to repay anyone he has cheated four times over.

Jesus ends this story with the line, “For the Son of Man (or human one) has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Save means to make whole.

Jesus is in the business of making wholes out of division.

He’s in the business of restorative justice.

If you are a follower of Jesus, this is your business as well.

Each of us would do well to ask ourselves these questions:

“Who is the ‘Zacchaeus’ in my life?”

“How am I like Zacchaeus?”

“How am I like the town’s people?”

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Listen to the song of the day “Mercy Reigns” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

My 4 albums and 2 books (Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart) are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Self Transformation

“Always choose love over fear.” – Adrienne Posey

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Luke 12:51

Jesus said, “Do you think I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”

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Such a seemingly disturbing quote today!

I thought Jesus was the so-called “Prince of Peace”?

Yes, he is.

But only if you accept his gospel message!

And that gospel message is that God is the unconditional lover of all and everything.

Jesus calls us to follow him in being this kind of lover.

That means loving all people – even those people!

You know, the people you can’t stand; The people who espouse the opposite of your political beliefs; All the people guilty of vile crimes.

Jesus makes this crystal clear when he commands us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Now do you see why Jesus said that he came to establish division?

The same Jesus who said that loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself were the two greatest commandments is not schizophrenic.

Jesus is being the master teacher here.

He is putting a bulls-eye on our dualism — how we tend to judge others and cast them out.

We have to make judgements, of course, as to right and wrong, but the rub is that we are called to do so without severing relationships.

We are called to at least try to love the one we see as wrong.

You have to protect yourself from abuse, but as a follower of Jesus we simply must try to love our persecutors!

How hard this is!

That’s why Jesus goes on to say in today’s gospel passage that households of five will be divided three against two and two against three.

Remind you of today’s political environment?

This radical love is the love that God has for you despite your flaws!

When you experience this love, you stop trying to change others and instead allow this love to change you.

Then you will be able to understand what St. Paul says in the lectionary’s first reading today from Ephesians chapter 3, verses 17 to 19:

“That you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”

May we be emptied of all our fears so that we might be filled with the fullness of Love itself.

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Listen to the song of the day “Pour Me Out” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

My 4 albums and 2 books (Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart) are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

Stream and/or purchase my songs on Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Sacred Identity

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“Do you know what you are? You are a manuscript of a divine letter.” – Rumi

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Ephesians 1:11-12

In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.

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St. Paul has a habit of speaking volumes in just a few words.

It’s apparent from the very diverse views and concepts expressed in the writings credited to Paul that he likely didn’t write all of it.

Some writings have such rich depth as in today’s scripture verses.

Some other writings seem blatantly dualistic and judgmental.

Those were likely written later by Paul’s community.

Let us look again at today’s verses and allow them to settle into our souls:

In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory.

My friend, we were chosen in Christ.

This Christ is so much bigger than the historical Jesus alone.

This Christ is the Cosmic Creative Energy; the Sacred Flow that connects all things.

You, my friend, are chosen.

You are destined in accord with the purpose of the One.

Note Paul uses the word One (with a capital “O”) to refer to God.

And Paul says all things are accomplished according to the One’s intention so that we might exist for the praise of the One’s glory.

God, who is love as it states in 1 John chapter 4 verse 8, intends that we might exist for the praise of God’s glory.

We are a product of Love itself and exist in this Love — the One.

Wow!

Do you believe that?

It’s true.

Breathe in the life-sustaining breath of God.

With each breath, know that you are loved.

Share that love with your talents and gifts.

Be that love and bask in the glory of it all!

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Amazing Grace

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“God comes to you disguised as your life.” – Paula D’Arcy

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Psalm 139:1-2

Oh God, you have searched me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.

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The other day a priest referred to something the late great actor Anthony Quinn said in an interview years ago.

I searched and found the video of this interview from 1998 on the program Inside the Actors Studio.

Quinn was asked what he hoped God would say to him when he dies.

His answer really touched me deeply.

Quinn said he hoped God would say: “Tony…I understand.”

I felt tears well-up in my eyes.

This is the God that I know: A God who has searched me and knows me.

This God “understands my thoughts” thoroughly.

I take exception with today’s scripture stating that God understands “from afar.”

I have experienced God more as in whom I live and move and have my being as St. Paul put it inActs of the Apostles chapter 17 verse 28.

God knows you intimately.

God gets you.

And God, who is Love itself, loves you infinitely – warts and all.

Each of us is a spiritual being in these human bodies, dealing with all the struggles, temptations, joys, and sorrows of the human condition.

We’re here to experience the struggles and to discover the depths of love.

No matter what you’ve done; no matter how badly you have messed-up; no matter your faults – you are loved by the Love that created you exactly as you are.

That is Grace, my friend.

Accept it.

Believe it.

Live in that Grace.

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Listen to the song of the day “The Way You Are” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Let Love Lead You

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“Death is no more than passing from one room into another.” – Helen Keller

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Ecclesiastes 1:11

There is no remembrance of past generations; nor will future generations be remembered by those who come after them.

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Today’s scripture verse is the ending of the passage that begins with: “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!”

The point being: Everything in this world of form passes away and disintegrates.

No one will be remembered given enough passage of time.

And that’s pretty true!

How sad if this was really all there is!

So, let’s talk about the “d” word: Death.

The very thing our culture abhors and tries to ignore is the very key to life!

Everything on Earth — and throughout the entire cosmos as best we can tell — goes through a birth-to-death cycle.

And the very means by which the Great Mystery creates is through this death-to-life-to-death-to-life process.

In Christianity, Jesus shows us that death is not final. Love triumphs.

Just like Jesus, we all will survive physical death.

As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

Near Death Experiencers are affirming that we come to inhabit these physical bodies and then we return to the heavenly realm.

Who knows how many such realms there are?

But those who have suffered clinical death and then experienced the Light and then returned to their resuscitated bodies again tell of a deeper experience of love than they can describe.

The real point being: These bodies we inhabit will die; but our spirits – our souls – will go on.

Jesus wanted us to know that dying was a part of everyday life.

As he put it: Lose your life to find your life (Matthew 16:25).

Jesus also said: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24).

When we let go of our ego-driven desires, our soul’s desires surface.

Your true self begins to live.

It’s always been there buried under layers of masks that your false self created.

You begin to channel the Love-that-you-are into this realm.

And what Jesus called the kingdom of God comes alive in the here-and-now.

This, my friend, is why you’re here.

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Listen to the song of the day “Love Will Always Lead You Home” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Oneness

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“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” – Alan Watts

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1 Corinthians 12:12

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.

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The mystics and the saints down through the ages all understood what St. Paul states here.

While the world appears to be made up of lots of separation, lots of contrast, lots of this and that, the mystics see those as illusions.

The truth is that it’s all one.

We appear as individual parts, but we are actually parts of one body which St. Paul simply calls Christ.

This is more than the historical Jesus.

Christ is much larger if you will.

It’s the energizing entity that holds all things together.

We come from Oneness and will return to Oneness.

When all is seen and experienced as One there is harmony.

That’s the transformative journey we are meant to have.

In heaven there are no challenges; no obstacles.

In this earthly realm, however, we each get the opportunity to experience separation.

Our egos build whole false selves out of the experience of being set apart from everyone else.

It’s part of the exercise of living a human life on planet Earth.

What Jesus and other enlightened people throughout history wanted us to learn was that we are all actually one.

All seemingly-separate-things are actually in communion.

Bread and wine are one with Jesus’ body and blood.

I remember the first man I prayed with while training for chaplaincy. He was on life support in the ICU of a hospital. His eyes were open but he couldn’t speak due to the breathing apparatus affixed to his face.

As my eyes looked into his, there was a mystical moment – or minute – I can’t recall how long, when I realized he was me and I was him.

There was only Christ.

It was the Mystical Oneness of all Life; the “I AM” in its fullness.

As Jesus said, we must lose our life to find our life (Matthew 16:25).

The ego-generated false self must be let-go-of.

This false self is a necessary part of our human journey, but we cannot get attached to it.

It dissolves at physical death, so we might as well die before we die.

For when we let go of the delusional idea of who we are, our true self appears.

As St. Paul also said in Galatians chapter 2 verse 20, “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”

So, don’t sweat the small stuff, my friends.

You are an eternal being, one with God, and infinitely loved.

Live in that experience.

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are One” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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Remember: God loves you!

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Transformation in Progress

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“Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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PODCAST version of Today’s Contemplation: click HERE.

Listen to my song “Breathe On Me” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

My albums and books Mercy Reigns & Listen to Your Heart are available for purchase HERE. Also available on Amazon.

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1 Corinthians 7:31

For the world in its present form is passing away.

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In my opinion, passages like this have been misinterpreted to our great misfortune.

People have looked at this verse and have taken it to mean that the world is going to disintegrate.

There will be some kind of Armageddon and that will be the end of this planet.

In my opinion, this has led many to act as though the Earth is just something to use and not care for.

It’s just going to go up in smoke one day anyway.

But the bible tells us that God made everything and deemed it good.

And the same story in Genesis tells us that God made humans the stewards of the earth.

That means we are to care for it.

What God has made is sacredevery last bit of it.

All things, at their tiniest molecular level, are energized by the Life-Giving-Force of the Universe.

We and everything else are part of a Grand Whole.

Life here is not meant to be every-person-for-themselves but every-person-for-all.

And by all, I mean the Earth, too.

The world is indeed passing away in its present form.

Everything is.

The basic principle of dying-and-rising is at work.

It’s how things are.

All things in this realm of form come to be and then slowly or quickly dissolve.

But the Life-Giving-Force, the energy that animates our spirit, our soul, our true self, our consciousness, goes on.

Everything is being transformed in the creative process.

We are called to take part in this creativity.

Treasure each moment of this wondrous gift of life on this wondrous planet in this wondrous universe.

And know deeply that it, in its present form, is indeed passing away.

But all the while it is also becoming gloriously more.

And so are you!

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Listen to the song of the day “Breathe On Me” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

Purchase my albums/CDs and books by clicking HERE.

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Remember: God loves you!

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