Theology matters; pastors and chaplains with robust appreciation for theology are well-positioned to engage.
These habits will help form a posture of communicating – of living – with gracious conviction. Most of them rely on humility in action; they show and shape perspective at the same time. They are habits learned as we follow Jesus around as his apprentices. They don’t always come easily; as we learn, we still fall short. But this is the Jesus way. We can’t do less – and by God’s grace, it will become easier.
Holiness must be derived from something holy in and of itself. Where God breaks in, there is holiness. We don’t strain and strive to become our version of holy – John Wesley tried that, it didn’t go well.
“Ours is an age of noise. We exchange our history for comforting lies of other gods. We exchange our worship for spectacles. We exchange true justice for parodies, imitations, mimicry. We fill our lives with noise. We silence the Word of the Lord.
But the Word comes nevertheless, not in an earthquake or fire or rushing wind, but in this man, Jesus the Christ.”
“We actually get to see what a fully moral person looks like: it’s Jesus.”
“There is membership not in what is owed to ourselves, but in what is owed to Christ because we are now in him.”
Simply put, “For Ignatius, the ebb and flow of consolation and desolation is the normal path of the Christian life.” There will be times of consolation – when there is a sense of noticeable, personally experienced growth or blossoming, when God’s presence seems close and the means of grace seem easy and quick at hand. There will also be times of desolation – similar to the “dark night of the soul” – when, whether from wrongdoing, or attacks of the enemy, or times of struggle or challenge, God’s presence seems distant or even simply absent, when our growth seems stalled or the habits that sustain us feel unusually heavy.
Are you ready to create the habit of depending on God, whatever the circumstance?
And in our gospel passage, Mary of course – like all of us on this side of death – is not yet fully awake. She makes first contact with the resurrected Jesus, and it’s about as awkward as Peter embarrassing himself by trying to pitch a tent on Mount Tabor. Mary’s problem is that she thinks Jesus is dead, and when she sees that he’s gone, she consoles herself by saying, “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
“Providence does not mean that we have no free will. God’s providence does not rule out human freedom. Providence is not opposed to cooperation with God. Providence does not mean we are off the hook or that we have no sense of responsibility when it comes to spiritual growth. Rather, we cooperate with God as we grow in our faith by practicing spiritual disciplines or the means of grace.”