Tag Archives: trust

Friday Thoughts: Adolescent Cardinals

by Howard Hain

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Adolescent Cardinal

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Brilliant Red?

Not quite yet.

The color of martyrs?

That remains to be seen.

A touch of green?

Yes, that’s for sure.

It’s the obscurity of ordinary time.

But what about the shade of gray?

An undyed robe.

One way or another, the ascetic life.

They have to learn to let go.

But they seem so unaware?

Certainly the case.

Too busy with growth.

No time to kill.

Branch to branch.

Tree to tree.

Upward.

Onward.

“Let’s find a new field!”

Though they always follow the lead.

Willingly or not.

Of the one bright red.

Hot on his heels.

They tweet and swipe:

“Let me in.”

“I’m ready to fly.”

“Let me lead the way.”

But maybe not yet?

Thinking they’re ready.

Sure sign they’re not.

Blood orange.

The bitter color.

Right before red.

A shade.

A difference.

A single feather.

Off the top of the head.

But avoid the cat.

And their day shall come.

Red.

Like the exhausted sun.

About to explode.

End of a hot August day.

Crushing the horizon.

Making it almost disappear.

But there on the cusp.

Just before another world.

We see the spectrum.

All yellow now gone.

The orange too has disappeared.

And the green?

Vanquished for eternity.

Even purple is held at bay.

Only the sincerity of red can sustain.

A pure offering.

A humble heart.

The undyed pigment.

Of a completely different sort.

The deepest kind of red.

Almost a shade of blue.

Blinding even the sun.

For Justice is duly at hand.

And a small bird of mercy.

White as white can be.

Flies incredibly low.

In friendship.

With him who bowed down.

Hand in hand.

A cardinal and a dove.

Into the jaws of death.

Though ever so certain.

There will be at least one more.

Yes, certainly another.

An heir, an offspring, a sturdy new branch.

At least one more.

For the young one watches.

Witnesses the entire display.

He sees the fully mature.

Return to their mother’s nest.

And lo and behold.

Dusk becomes dawn.

The newest day of all.

Rising from the west.

For the brightest color.

Has none at all.

What a display.

Life outdoing death.

The power of meekness.

Gaining the upper outstretched hand.

And with a gentle gesture.

Breaking the gates of hell.

Opening wide.

Heaven’s once narrow door.

Red all a flutter.

Now only joy and peace.

A cardinal is no more.


 

red-cardinal

Mature Cardinal

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8th Sunday A: Don’t Worry!

For today’s Gospel, please play the video below:

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Friday Thoughts: The Best Coinage The World Has Ever Known

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You can run but you can’t hide. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

What a world it would be if we only spoke in clichés.

Is it the kind of world you and I live in?

Do we retreat into beaten-down meadows, like deer who lay where others have already flattened the grass?

There’s less work I suppose. And the grass may still be warm.

But it’s also kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

You can enter a home that isn’t yours, you can search for a bed that fits just right, but at the end of the day your cover will be blown.

You can run but you can’t hide.

After all, you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.

Perhaps it is such lying that is really the apple.

For picking fruit from someone else’s tree has never been a good idea.

Those kind of apples certainly keep the good doctor away.

But I guess we also have to be careful to not overcorrect.

We must not out of pride be unwilling to enter where others have already been.

No, that is wisdom. We should go where others have gone before. It just depends on who they were and where they went.

And no matter what, we shouldn’t hide within those spaces, pretend that they are our own, and perhaps worst of all, act as if we are the first to ever have entered—delusion of this kind leads us to the belief that we create anything at all.

We don’t.

Think of Adam in the Garden. God is busy whipping up the entire universe from out of nothing. Creating and sculpting, adding and adapting, breathing life into His new world. And Adam, well, he’s one of the building blocks. Yes, certainly a favorite. A favorite that God does not want to be alone.

And something spectacular takes place:

The LORD God said: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him. So the LORD God formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each living creature was then its name. The man gave names to all the tame animals, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals… (Genesis 18-20)

God created, Adam named.

It is simply amazing. And humbling.

What an honor. And what a clear indicator of who is truly in charge.

We create nothing. That’s the bad news for those who want to be God.

We do though participate in the ongoing unfolding of God’s perfect and eternal world. We even seem to share the leading role. That’s the Good News for those who believe.

For our work is not to create. We simply cant. Only God can. And even if we “build” with what is already in existence, if we seemingly “create” something “new” with the building blocks we find already laying around, that “pseudo-creation” still isn’t our primary job.

Then what is?

Well, the original disciples of Jesus had a similar wonder:

So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” (John 6:28-29)

And there’s the crux of it, if you will.

Adam, we must remember, when in the supremely honorable position of naming God’s creatures was still naked, and he felt “no shame.” He hadn’t yet eaten what wasn’t his. He was not yet hiding “among the trees of the garden.” He still believed in the One Who Sends.

Adam was faithful. Adam was original. Adam knew he was God’s creation. And Adam was free to roam.

But Adam used his freedom to choose to become a slave.

Adam’s fall was a fall into self. A fall into creation, the creation of a great lie, that man creates on the same level as God.

It was a great fall. So steep was the cliff off which he went that no other story could ever bring more meaning to the most hackneyed line: “Once upon a time…”

Adam’s fall is a fall into denomination.

A fall into the church of self.

A fall into complete and utter cliché.

And it brought death to the great privilege of cooperating with God, of naming and stewarding on His behalf His created world.

But thanks be to God.

For someone truly original, and creative, finally came round.

He put the apple back up upon the tree and told the snake to take a hike.

His name is Jesus.

He is also called The Son of Man.

But of course we are free to just call Him God.

For about Jesus, nothing is cliché.

It is very clear, there’s absolutely no running or hiding when it comes to the Cross.

And when it comes to His love for us, there’s no apple that can keep the Divine Physician away.


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—Howard Hain

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Morning Thoughts: Love Your Proud Papa

Today, This Moment, The Year of Your Lord

My Child,

I thought I should write you this morning. To put down a few words. To speak into creation my ongoing love for you.

There are times when I watch you, somewhat at a distance. I leave that space so that my watching doesn’t impede your playing. But there is really no space at all. Because by not being “right with you” I get to see you as you truly are. My “distance” allows me to see you within the full scope of your existence. And never forget, my child, not for a second, I create your existence. It is not an event of the past. I am active. Always. I am always creating you, and I am always enjoying my creation. That is why I watch.

I watch you unfold. I watch frowns and frustrations unfold into smirks and full-blown smiles. I watch you evolve and grow. I watch you transform. I watch you fight then make up. I watch you get hurt then heal. I watch you hoard then share. Of course there are many times, my dear child, always in fact, that I want to jump in and save the day, to stop the fight, the hurt, the misunderstanding before it evens begins. But I love you too much to always deny you such good food and such nutritious drink.

I will your existence moment by moment, and my will is love. I know exactly how much you need to digest in order to provide for your perfect growth. I also know when too much of one nutrient or the denial of another is not part of my overall plan.

Perhaps that is the hardest thing about being a father, knowing that your maximum freedom within the ever-expanding bounds of my love is what you most need. Such liberty leads you into the divine individuality that I ultimately will to be achieved. And it’s also what makes you most valuable to our one, united, and very common family.

True liberty is what makes you most like me.

Please enjoy my gift this new day.

That’s what I will.

Enjoy my love. Enjoy your freedom. Enjoy the play of keeping it all within bounds. For you should also know, your freedom without my love is a very dangerous game. A game that as much as it grieves me to see any of my children play, I must allow, if the freedom I gift to you is to be of any value at all.

I am always with you. And know this—and know it for sure—if at any one moment, you choose to use your liberty to call out my name, I will scoop you up before you can even utter “the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter” of my most hallowed name.

For the distance between us isn’t real at all.

It’s love. It’s everywhere. And it lasts for eternity.

I seal this with a kiss. I place it upon the palm of my hand.

I hold it out and gently blow it your way.

I love you…my dear child.

 

Always smiling at you,

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Your Proud Papa

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—Howard Hain

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Morning Thoughts: Sure and Steady

jusepe-jose-de-ribera-tightrope-walkers-1634

Jusepe (Jose) de Ribera, “Tightrope Walkers”, 1634

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The brighter the light the more we squint.

The closer we get the less we see.

And if we stare we go blind.

Now what?

You have to trust.

In what?

Not in yourselves.

In total darkness the answer is clear.

All other ways disappear.

Close your eyes.

Shutter your ears.

Forget the past.

Ignore what is below.

Chin slightly elevated.

Now walk.

No need to go too slow.

Sure and steady.

Heart on the goal.

And if we slip?

Don’t worry.

I made the rope.

I hold it tight.

My Son is the way, the truth, and the life.

In Him you never fall.

In Him you know.

In Him you live.

He walks before you.

You may not see Him but He is there.

Follow close behind.

It is a tight walk.

That’s why I gave Him a pole.

I gave you one too.

And because it can get very dark.

I made them easy to identify.

They are made of thick dead wood.

Your hands know their splinters and knots.

Hold tight.

Say thank You.

Kiss in the dark what you cannot see.

For that old piece of wood.

Will get you across the gorge.

Where on the other side.

It will be planted.

Grafted into the Tree of Life.


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—Howard Hain

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Morning Thoughts: Falling Into Love

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Dear Lord,

Let me begin with my apologies. Forgive me for coming to you yet again with nothing. I’m sorry. Look at me, I’ve just begun and here I go again, saying things that are just not true. Of course I do not come “with nothing.” No, I come with nothing of value. Yes, that’s better. Yes, I come with nothing of value. For as You well know, Lord, I do come with plenty of things that simply get in the way of me doing my job, the job You Yourself assigned me, the job for which You Yourself designed me perfectly.

God, You are so patient.

Truly.

Yes, Sir.

Sorry, forgive me. Yes, I will stop talking. Of course I’ll listen to You. I’m all ears. Please, my Lord, go ahead, if you please, when You’re ready…

“My son, it is good to see you. I am always pleased to see you. You really have grown. Do you know what I hear when you speak to me? I hear hope. Yes, hope has a sound. No, it’s not like the sounds that you hear in the world. In heaven everything is Love. And the sound of hope is the sound of one of my children falling into love. I never grow tired of you, or any of your brothers or sisters, speaking to me. Think about it. You know this yourself, the most painful thing for parents is one of their children turning away from them, ceasing to talk, cutting off all communication, denying their very existence. Oh, how that hurts. Don’t you see then how Jesus taught you all that you need to know? He taught you all that you will ever need to know while He hung upon the cross. He taught you to never turn away from me. To speak to me. To direct your heart and your mouth and your will toward me. He taught you to keep your eyes on Me. The world only sees terrible pain and suffering upon the cross, I see you being set free. I see you this very morning coming to your Father and speaking openly. I see hope and I hear the sound of my dear child falling into Love.”


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—Howard Hain

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