‘Contemplation’ Category Archives
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Death, Jesus, Suffering
A bit of a non-day you might say.
Yesterday, Good Friday, was the day for sadness, tears and quiet contemplation.
Tomorrow, Sunday, will be the day for expressions of Easter joy and thankfulness.
But today– commemorating that in-between day of apparent disappointment and disillusion — how best to occupy our thoughts?
Is it a day to ask: do I, in fact, really believe in God?
Even when the life he is giving me is giving me suffering?
* * *
Perhaps spare a few minutes to consider the deceptively simplistic words of Sarah Adams’s hymn:
“Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
Even though it be a cross that raises me,
Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!”
* * *
Even though it be a cross . . . ?
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Jesus
ALMIGHTY and eternal God, merciful Father,
who has given to the human race your beloved Son
as an example of humility, obedience, and patience,
to go before us on the Way of life bearing the Cross . . . .
Grant that we, inspired by His infinite love,
may take upon us the sweet burden of His Gospel
and the mortification of the cross,
following Him as His true disciples . . . .
So that we may one day gloriously rise with Him
and joyfully hear the final sentence:
“Come, you who are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world . . . .”
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation
Two recent conversations with a couple of friends:
One informs me that, as an atheist, he doesn’t fear death.
Total extinction is certain and that’s OK with him.
The other says that, as an evangelical-type Christian, he doesn’t fear death.
He’s certain of going to heaven and that’s OK with him.
But isn’t it normal to be afraid of dying — something unfamiliar that one hasn’t done before . . . ?
* * *
The Catholic religion — which seems to promise certainty about lots of things — promises un-certainty about this one.
The good news of the gospel is that we aren’t certain of our final destiny.
Your final destination is, at this stage, unknowable.
And don’t we need uncertainty?
God isn’t a vending machine. That would make us robots.
Nor does God not exist. That would make everything we do ultimately irrelevant.
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Prayer
In his first Christmas message as Pope, Pope Francis focussed his prayer on the Christian message of “Peace on Earth”:
“Prince of Peace, in every place, turn hearts aside from violence and inspire them to lay down arms and undertake the path of dialogue.
“Child of Bethlehem, touch the hearts of those engaged in human trafficking that they may realise the gravity of this crime against humanity.
“Grant that migrants in search of a dignified life may find acceptance and assistance. May tragedies like those witnessed this year with so many deaths at Lampedusa never occur again.
“Help and protect all the victims of natural disasters, especially the beloved people of the Philippines, gravely affected by the recent typhoon.”
* * *
In addition, the Pope commented that peace “is not a balance of opposing forces . . . .
“Wars shatter and hurt so many lives . . . the many children who are kidnapped, wounded and killed in armed conflict . . . all those who are robbed of their childhood and forced to become soldiers.
“Peace calls for daily commitment starting from God’s gift from the grace which he has given us in Jesus Christ.
“I invite even non-believers to desire peace . . . a desire that widens the heart.
“Let us all unite, either with prayer or with desire, but everyone, for peace.
“Today I voice my hope that everyone will come to know the true face of God the Father, who has given us Jesus . . . .”
by Arnold Jago in Australia, Beauty, Contemplation, Family, History
It was a beautiful stream, clear as crystal and sparkling like jewels as it ran over its rocky bed between the great arches of the trees.
Many a time have I sat and watched it from the top of the bank, watching it rolling the pebbles along its bed, tumbling over waterfalls and rounding graceful curves on its way to the ocean.
All kinds of birds gathered there, while all the animals came from the woods close by to drink from its cool waters.
I can remember a very pretty place there where the willows grew all along its banks and the ferns grew down to the water’s edge and hung over the stream.
The laughing jackass in a big gum close by, and the singing and the chirping of the parrots and parakeets made the whole place bright and cheerful.
The kangaroos and wallabies would hop about undisturbed while rabbits, hares, foxes and other bush animals enjoyed the freedom of the woods by the creek.
This stream maintained its beauty for years, but then the settlers came and turned those beautiful hills and flats about the creek into great stretches of grass land.
The crops from these places would never be as valuable as the timber there if it had been standing now.
The creek was blocked in places, and instead of being a clear sparkling creek it is now a dirty and muddy stream having lost all its former beauty which was so dear to me.
Written in 1922 by Robert Hartley Jago, Grade 8, State School No 2979, Giffard, Gippsland, Victoria
(Like father, like son…I hope)
by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Faith, God, Happiness, Modern Church
Today ABC radio show “Heart and Soul” was about yoga being (arguably) OK for a good Muslim.
More next week, they said.
In 1998, a council of Malaysian muftis issued a fatwa banning yoga — because its Far-Eastern-religion elements could “destroy the faith of a Muslim”.
That argument could go on forever.
* * *
The ABC would, no doubt, like to entice more Catholics into yoga and similar.
But that notion has been, or arguably should have been, over for some time.
French newspaper L’Express, 20 March 1997, quoted Pope Benedict XVI saying: “If Buddhism is attractive, it’s because it appears as a possibility of touching the infinite and obtaining happiness without having any concrete religious obligations. A spiritual auto-eroticism of some sort.”
Some considered “auto-eroticism” not a well-chosen phrase. But it’s clear what he means.
* * *
Christianity is not a cop-out religion – it’s not about feeling good/happy etc.
It’s about expressing love for God by worshipping and obeying him.
Not just because such may or may not make us feel good.
We are to love and obey God purely because he is infinitely worthy to be loved and obeyed.
Such a statement answers a few questions and raises a few more.