Friday, September 05, 2008

Inside, Outside, Upside Down!

I was having coffee with a beloved sister in Christ the other day, and she said something in the course of our conversation that really made me start to think. It wasn't so much that she said it, but that it's been said and heard so many times by so many of us, that it could have been anyone who said this thing.

Common parlance.

"The Lord blessed my parents and so now we are using the money for...."

It seems that so often, the Lord's blessing is equated with financial blessing.

And I"m not going to argue that this is not a form of blessing, but the words of Jesus do come to mind about the eye of a needle and how difficult it is for a rich man (and by that, I think we can easily say most of us Americans! no matter how pettily we compare ourselves with one another) to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

I've been asking St. Xenia of Petersburg for her prayers lately, because she's a good one who prays for people who need jobs or who need to sell their homes, etc. Her relatives thought she was certifiable when, widowed, she distributed all her earthly good to the needy and spent the rest of her life a bag-lady on the streets, up praying in the fields all night long.

And somehow, I've also had my Lord's words on my mind much this week:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

13Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 5)

And in Luke 12 he's quotes as just saying "blessed are the poor!" Completely at odds with common parlance, isn't it.

And it just turns the whole way of looking at blessings upside down, and on it's head. And the question comes to mind: How much of this have I truly incorporated into the depths of my being? How much of this do I really believe? Because to tell the truth, when I look at the inside landscape of my heart, I want things to be comfortable, financially secure, cushy and mostly my way!

Yet this Kingdom of Heaven business is inside, outside and very very upside down!

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

i have been praying also to St. Xenia. i can relate very much to this struggle. how much we need God's loving kindness.