Sunday Scripture

Gospel reading for Sunday 4th September, 2016, Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

26 ‘Anyone who comes to me without hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, cannot be my disciple. 27 No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple.

28 ‘And indeed, which of you here, intending to build a tower, would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, if he laid the foundation and then found himself unable to finish the work, anyone who saw it would start making fun of him and saying, 30 “Here is someone who started to build and was unable to finish.”’

Luke 14:25-33

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Which this scripture might seem contradictory to what else Jesus taught – to love without condition one’s parents, friends, and even those who want to harm one – he is making a clear point here, not only about having to lift one’s own cross, ie. to go through hardship, but also about what is required, or rather not required, when it comes to being a disciple of Christ.

The trials of the earth are base and seemingly heavy. However, Christ advises that these gifts weight us down. We shouldn’t be obsessed with our material products, as they will, in the long run, get us nowhere. This scripture, too, advises against a pretence (for, surely, one cannot not hate one’s closest, by human nature that we have expectations, which will undoubtedly be broken and cause anguish in relationships) of happiness for a life of honesty, even if it that causes judgement our way.

“…would not first sit down and work out the cost to see if he had enough to complete it…“ We ought to give our all and be honest with our all. In this same way, it is not easy to give up what we love or habits that seem natural in the modern secular, but in God’s world as close to useless. In this way, we have sacrifices just as Jesus made the Ultimate Sacrifice. When we take up our individual crosses, we become closer to Christ and his suffering that was solely for to save our souls from sin. An honour that we can but repay via discipleship.

7 Quick Takes: Prayer, Trust, and All the Choices

I’m back for the Friday 7 Quick Takes today. Hosted, as usual, by This Ain’t the Lyceum. Check ‘em out!

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Choices, Choices, and More Choices. I’ve been trying to make a few *big* choices, difficult choices. Retrospectively, they’re not things that would seem that important to other people, but making choices is something I struggle to do definitely. I’m a maybe person; I like things in the middle. And, so, making a singular yes is difficult.

~2~

Inviting God into the Everyday. After going to World Youth Day, I have been trying to put God first (or, being honest, more first) in my daily life, even in just waking up and thinking about my day. That was one thing that helped me during exam revision. God and I working together.

~3~

Prayer is Enough. I will admit, however, that I’m not one of the best people to stick to a daily prayer schedule. I am trying, though.

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~4~

Thankfully… I am definitely doing a Masters in London. I have officially finished my pre-enrolment, so all that is left to do is wait the days out until my new term.

~5~

There Are Always Options. I’ve got to remember the mind-set that whatever happens and comes to be is part of God’s ultimate plan for me. Things go wrong, as they always seem to do around me, but in the end, they were always meant to go wrong; or, rather, they were always meant to happen differently to what I might have expected or even hoped for.

~6~

How is life, though? It’s good. I am enjoying the company of the three cats with which I am now living. Thus, the photo below. That’s Bovril, and she’s a sweetie.

~7~

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7 Quick Takes: Exam Confidence

7 Quick Takes Friday is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Work at things until they’re rote. If revising a certain topic bores you, you’re probably at the stage where you understand it.

~2~

Use acronyms, aphorisms, ascriptions. Start associating the names you probably won’t remember by themselves with phrases that you’ll be able to roll off your tongue.

~3~

Talk to yourself. Stare out of the window. Just don’t read over what you’ve written time and time again. It does nothing to your long-term memory; there are very little significant or vibrant chemical associations that will occur from reading. Your short-term memory might be fine, but I assure you that tomorrow will have swept the knowledge from your head.

~4~

Instead, opt for writing essay plans or structuring sentences as arguments so that you’re contemplating what you will have to in the exam.

~5~

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some things do need clarifying – some topics are tricky to get one’s head around. As such, you won’t always be able to go it alone. Ask, confirm, support. It’s the best way to understand a topic.

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Revision.

~6~

Relax. Actually, the worst thing one can do in an exam is overthink and spiral into anxiety. A clear mind is a successful mind, and through that, exam essays are simpler than you think.

Plus, God does not judge by one’s academic score, for He knows your true knowledge.

~7~

Pray. Not out of desperation, of course, but in an optimistic in-God-I-trust approach. Acknowledge that He is there for you; appreciate that He has guided you this far. He is on your side, and will continue to support you.

As funny as it sounds, God is my ultimately cheerleader. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without his support.

Have a blessed weekend.

My Peace I Leave You

Yesterday’s Gospel reading was one of my favourite – it’s from where we get the peace saying in the Mass. There is more to the passage, of course, but what one can essentially take from it is the power and strength of the peace that God brings, in this case, via Christ.

The point of Jesus’ pronouncement is to separate the Holy Spirit’s peace from the superficial and temporary peace one encounters with worldly goods. God wants us to find peace, but He also wants us to find the right kind of peace and not be so bogged down or obstructed by material wishes that we cannot make time for God or for others.

Yes, we can everything from this: the big message that without God, we are left in a level of peace that will forever be unfulfilling for us.

I wouldn’t say there is a specific reason why this is one of my favourite Gospel readings. It in itself brings a sense of peace; and the fact that God is here, and we are made aware that His is the peace available forever to us is something memorable in itself.

Quick Takes Monday: Being Thankful

I missed Quick Takes Friday, but there’s always room for a Quick Takes Monday, seeing as I had half a post written. I thought today I’d do something different for the 7 Quick Takes blog hop, and take a moment in prayer to think about things for which I am thankful in the type of life I lead.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Temperature controlled showers. Yes, yes, I know how material that is. But temperature controlled showers – and I’m not talking about turning up the temperature all the time – are so good to have in the morning to wake one’s self up. Without being able to control the shower in the way I have done, I wouldn’t be able proceed with my day in the way I want.

So, for that, I am thankful for good showers, and I always will be.

~2~

The Internet – whether it be working or not. I am glad I came to age in a time after the internet became as popular as it is now. Sure, the internet is made for trolls and people hiding everywhere who want to corrupt the goodness of society, but it is also an amazing place for genuine people who, a 100 years ago, would not have had the opportunity to be as successful as they are now, thanks to job and career opportunities they happen upon thanks to the internet.

~3~

Companionship. From friends to family to acquaintances, everybody I meet influences the path I walk and the choices I make. Just a little bit. Just by joy and conversation and care. I am so so thankful for God bringing these people into my life.

~4~

Outerwear. Like, working gloves. Those to me are bliss when my fingers do not turn to blocks of ice. I have naturally cold hands – low circulation – which leaves me, even in a mild April day, tucked hands in pockets or under fleecy protection. I don’t mind – it’s a fate I have endured for many years, and I have my ways of dealing with it. Like gloves.

~5~

Discovery. Every day, even in the minutest of ways, we – as people and as scientists in this big, wide world of ours – are learning more and more about the world we are stewarding. We may never eradicate all human-killing diseases or we may never create the technology of our dreams or find every creature in every crevice of the planet, but what we do find, however small, helps to patch together an interpretation of life. To me, that is wonderful.

~6~

Contemplation. Another thing that I myself could not live without. The world would be a dull place if we could not think. For starters, there were not be this post. In extension of that, I am thankful for philosophy in terms of considering the world around me. So very often we get told not to take our gifts for granted; this is true, but the gift of being able to contemplate is not one so easily defined.

Even so, I pray that others will experience contemplation and knowing when to do the right thing.

~7~

Fiction. Namely, the act of being able to generate fictitious ideas. I often wonder what the world would be like without imagination and without fiction. Without the ability to weave a story to tell others. And, indeed, where would we be as readers? Reading is amazing and so often overlooked. But the fact that we somehow encode the orthographic squiggles on paper with a pre-taught corresponding phoneme is both highly unlikely and amazing.

Well, that’s the work of The Lord for you. Amen!

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Have a peaceful and blessed week.🙂

A Start to Lent

Happy Lent, everyone! Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the desert, fasting and enduring the temptations of the Devil. In this way, Lent is a time for us to fight against the many temptations that flood our lives and turn our faces to the Lord.

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My face – with an ash cross after the service this lunchtime.🙂

Not looking so glamorous, but I feel that probably sums up Lent in a face. Looking away from one’s self and looking to what one can share with others. Putting ourselves even more second to God and what He is calling us to do. Forget the fancy clothes and descendant food; for Lent, God and Jesus’ sacrifice should be the better focus our internal selves. We need to put aside the business of our days to find the silence and Peace of God in our every day lives.

Speak Lord; Your servant is listening.