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The Obedience of Faith


On this Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

I’ve heard that the typical member of my profession changes jobs about seven times in their career.  I heard this 17 years ago, and I’m guessing that the average has increased with the increasing mobility of society.

In my case, I’m a bit ahead of the curve.  In the past 16 years I’ve held seven jobs including my present job.  Not every transition was voluntary.  Some were very stressful: to my family, my marriage, my sense of self, even my faith.

Change can be very disorienting and disruptive, particularly change that is unplanned and unprepared for. Especially when the change forces me from a position of comfort or complacency.  How I respond to this change depends on how grounded I am in my faith.

Take Abraham, for example.  He was 75, wealthy and firmly established in Canaan when God told him to uproot his family and move to unfamiliar territory.  How did Abraham respond?  “Digo si señor.” Or, “yes, Lord.”  He obeyed based on God’s promise:

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will find blessing in you.  Gen. 12:2-3.

God sent Abraham.  Abraham obeyed.  What faith!  And then God blessed Abraham!

As I said, change can be quite unsettling.  For me, more than a few of the transitions brought about some real inner soul searching.  Mostly, I asked “why.”  “Why me?!”  “Why now?!”

But maybe I wasn’t asking the right questions, or delving deeply enough.  God sent Abraham as an extension of His Covenant, to further bless Abraham and His people.  Maybe–with each change–God sends me to further His Covenant in some way.  Maybe God wants to use me in the new location, new position, new situation.  Or maybe He just wants to shake me out of my complacency to serve Him better.

Day 15-1

This theme of change continues in the New Testament.  Just as God challenged Abraham, Jesus also challenged the Rich Man:

Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. Mark 10:21.

But in each case, the command to change was accompanied by a promise of even greater blessings.  Perhaps this should be my attitude with every change:  “thank you Lord for the blessings ahead of me in this new chapter of my life!”

Day 15-2

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Broken Sacramentals


Broken Sacramentals

Beads in my pocket, formerly attached;
Loosely floating orbs and chain links recently unlatched.
A crucifix and pendant—remnants and remains
Of things I use to garner graces, gifts and holy gains.

A patch of woolen fabric, a square with icon blessed
That used to hang consolingly, a comfort on my chest.
This scapular most holy. A rosary of wood.
Now sit inside a leather pouch instead of where they should.

And though they both are damaged,  and neither one is whole,
They each provide me blessings for my worn and weary soul.
These broken sacramentals,  though bruised and broken things,
Still serve their purpose, drawing me to Jesus Christ our King.

Their brokenness reminds me that even with my blame,
Even though I’m flawed and weak, He’ll use me just the same.
If only I allow Him, surrender to His will,
He’ll use me to draw people to his sermon on the hill.

This broken sacramental, though barren all alone,
He’ll take me—if I offer—to draw children to his throne.
And just like broken bead strings, when put to holy use,
My life can be a blessing in the ways that He will choose.

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