The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

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Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Coincidence" or Divine Synchronicity?

I flew to Rapid City, South Dakota recently to move a resident Jesuit priest to Chicago. I had never been to South Dakota before, never dragged a trailer before, knew I had to drive an old car that hadn’t been driven for months, and knew my Jesuit companion had health problems. So I worried: would a heavy snow storm hit? would dragging a trailer on snowy cause us to skid off the road? If we got stuck in snow, would my friend’s health be compromised?

The first day of our trip was uneventful: cloudy skies, but dry roads, little traffic, no precipitation – and the trailer followed perfectly. The next two days we drove through Minnesota and Wisconsin to Chicago: blue skies, no clouds, little wind - couldn't have been better. The same weather continued the fourth day when I drove my companion’s belongings from Chicago to their final destination near Detroit. The fifth day I returned to Chicago, cloudy, but with little wind and open roads.

I arrived in Chicago around 2:30pm – after 1,600 miles of clear sailing. Around 3:30 the wind started, and by dinner time, we were in the midst of a full-scale sleet storm, with biting, driving winds and a multi-inch accumulation of ice. On the news I heard that a massive storm had hit the Great Plains. In just the area we had driven through - Winona, Minnesota to La Crosse, Wisconsin – 15 to 18 inches of snow fell. Over 50 cars had skidded off the highway into the ditch.

So, the question is, Was our good fortune just a coincidence, or was God at work in our lives to help us complete our journey safely?

The Greek word “Gospel” means “Good News,” God participating in our lives and fulfilling faith claims that "Though i walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will not fear, for you are with me" (Psalm 23) and "…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear…" (Matthew 6, the Sermon on the Mount).

St Ignatius of Loyola says in the Spiritual Exercises that "God works and labors for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, that is, He conducts Himself as one who labors, being,..conferring life and sensation..." (section 236).

So, when these remarkable events occur in our lives, we can choose to deny God and call them coincidences, or to recognize the Divine Synchronicity of the God who loves us, fulfilling His Good News in our lives.

I know how I choose. And you?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


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Friday, February 02, 2007

God Forgives Me. Can I Forgive Myself?

Comment from Adoro Te Devote:

"Something I, and many others I know struggle with is, when we leave the confessional, really BELIEVING that it's all gone, and how to simply accept that if we have made the best confession we can (imperfect contrition), knowing our vices are not broken, and yet not questioning that God has had mercy and that we can TRUST in that."

An excellent comment. Let’s begin with Scripture:

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, you whole body will be full of life; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matthew 6:22-23

When you leave the confessional, what are you seeing with your physical eyes and the eyes of faith? If you “see” with the eyes of faith that you have been forgiven, can you encourage your physical eyes to see the beautiful architecture of the church, the bright sunlight and blue sky, the children at play? If so, the goodness you see with your physical eyes will sustain and support the goodness your eyes of faith have “seen.”

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Hold that glory – the glory of forgiveness - before your eyes of faith.

The eye is the gatekeeper of the body. If your eyes are healthy, you will be full of life. If your eye of faith “sees” that God, who loves you, has forgiven you, then your eye of faith can even “see” that God has forgiven what you “meant” to confess, “partially” confessed, “confusedly” confessed.

What happens after you leave the confessional arises from your choice or intention. If you “see” only darkness, you will fill yourself with darkness. “If your eye offends you, pluck it out,” Jesus says sensationally. “Look only through your healthy eye.”

I too have these dark currents that threaten my happiness. See my posts A Mary Moment on a Martha Afternoon, October 17, 2006 and Mozart and Maelstrom: Mary and Martha II, October 22, 2006 on concrete steps I took in the face of fear and anxiety. Quick answer: let the Lord’s goodness and light in through the glory of creation.

An important note: Don’t worship your emotions! Feelings don’t always reflect reality. “I feel unloved,” but God loves you nonetheless. “I feel afraid,” but there may be nothing to fear. If there is an object or cause of fear, channel your anxiety into specific steps to respond to the object or cause. If not, tell the feeling to go away and leave you alone. “See” goodness. Take positive action. Drive the negative out.

Beware of creating a place for the Evil One to attack you. (See my post “The Devil Made Me Do It” November 1, 2006.) Evil takes advantage of negative emotions, including over whether we have confessed “enough,” to create unhappiness in us. St Ignatius suffered from serious scruples, but discovered that scruples came from Evil. “And since he (Ignatius) now had some experience of the differences in kinds of spirits through the lessons God had given him, he began to mull over the means through which the spirit had come. As a result he decided, with great clarity, not to confess anything from the past any more. Thus from that day onward he remained free of those scruples, holding for certain that Our Lord in his mercy had willed to liberate him.” The Autobiography of St Ignatius, para 25.