Find Your Holiness Now….


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Mother Angelica of EWTN fame once wrote that the only true path to holiness is to live in the present.  What did she mean by this?

The Past: For Educational Purposes Only

We all know that the past provides us with many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow.  Our mistakes and stumbles provide us with a great educational resource as we try to grow toward God. Everything from learning how to deal with struggles to identifying and appreciating good friends  comes from our ability to reflect on our past experiences. However, we should keep the past only for that purpose. Too many people use the past as a pit of resentments, regrets, and ruminations which get us nowhere good.  I believe that the past should be like a newspaper:  read it, learn from it, and move on.

The Future:  God 

Many will argue that we must plan for the future.  Others will add that anticipating problems is smart thinking.  While this is all well and good, the only future we should spend much time on is figuring out how to have an eternity with God. Whatever future we think about better be thought about in the context of how God is involved.  A future without God is no future at all.

The Present:  Where Holiness Lives

As Mother Angelica so often stressed, too many people lose opportunities for holiness because they spend their time digging up the past or plotting the future.  See each moment in the present as the gift from God that it truly is.  The key to finding God and getting closer to God is right in front of us each day if we only take the time to look. Remember that the past is done and the future belongs to God.  If we live with God in the present, the future will take care of itself and the past will be more gentle on us.

2016  Gabriel Garnica

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Our Eternal Destination Matters More Than Our Yellow Brick Road


 

 

 

As a child, I knew a little girl who had a little problem with her family’s vacations.  She always loved the different places they would visit, but she never enjoyed the journey getting there.  She hated long car drives, was afraid of flying, did not care much for trains, and was simply very impatient and even paranoid about taking too long to get to their destinations.  Simply put, she loved where she was going but did not love the different ways she could get there.  As odd as this might seem, many of us are the same way about a far more important trip-  our earthly journey to our eternal destination.

What Matters

We can all agree that what really matters is that we save our souls and that of as many people as God puts before us to help.  Ending up in heaven is the ultimate success story regardless of what stories we wrote here on earth. The most successful person on earth is not a success if he or she loses heaven forever.  Conversely, the biggest earthly loser is the ultimate winner if he or she gains heaven forever.  That being said, one has to wonder why so many of us worry so much about our journey rather than our destination.

Luggage over Location

Mother Angelica used to wonder why we all worry so much about our earthly journey, this pilgrimage to our heavenly home, when it is simply a path to what really matters.  I think that there are a few reasons why we get bogged down in these concerns.  First, we end up thinking that the journey is what really matters thanks to this world.  Everywhere we go, people pretend that this life is all we have, and that we better make it work the way the world wants it to work. Imagine that you only have $ 5,000 for a trip and you spend $ 4,900 on travel alone.  You won’t have much fun once you get to your destination with $ 100 in your pocket. Instead of spending most of your resources on travel, you should embrace the travel level you can use and focus on enjoying your destination instead.  I am not suggesting that you go to Mexico on a donkey, but maybe First Class with extras is not very smart if you are on a budget.

Second, I think that many people convince themselves that there is no real destination worth dreaming about anyway.  How sad for those who, consciously or not, come to believe that this life is all we have.  Knowing much better, we have no excuses to ignore or deny that we are indeed going somewhere eternally of our own earthly choosing.  Lastly, many of us lose sight of our destination because we do not keep our eyes, minds, hearts, and souls on it.  If we spend most of our time focused on our present trek without looking at where we are headed, we may not end up where we originally intended to go.

Ingredients to The Ultimate Dish

When we cook or bake something, we go out and get the right ingredients and put them together as dictated in a recipe to end up with the desired dish.  In order to do this, we need to first buy the right ingredients and then put those ingredients together in the right way.  Nobody will suggest that we simply use any ingredients we have at home no matter what because we will not end up with the right dish.  Likewise, nobody suggests that we simply buy the right ingredients and throw them on a table because our desired dish must be prepared correctly using these ingredients in the right combination.

In the same way, we must determine what gifts God has given us and how we might combine them in the best way to serve and love God and others.  If we do this, we will have the correct recipe to end up with our desired result of eternal salvation. If we do not determine our ingredients or bother to put them together for God and others, we will never end up with our desired eternal result.

Conclusion

Joseph and Mary rode a donkey through treacherous areas on more than one occasion to go where God wanted them to go.  They trusted God and knew that He would guide them to the right place.  Similarly, we must accept whatever journey God provides us to the place that really matters- heaven.

2017  Gabriel Garnica

What is The Difference Between Humility and Humiliation?


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We often hear of humility in the context of Christian virtue and are reminded that Christ and The Blessed Mother were certainly paragons of that kind of humility.  As followers of Christ, we are thus expected to be as humble as possible as we love and serve God and others. However, many people have the wrong idea about humility and often confuse it with humiliation.

The True Meaning of Humility

Humility is simply realizing, accepting, embracing, and maximizing the fact that we are nothing more than God’s instruments for love and service.  It is not about us but rather about God, and the sooner we get that the faster we will truly do God’s work the way He wants us to do that work.  Much, if not most, of sin stems from thinking that it is about us or what we want.  When we truly empty ourselves of self and see God as the core, great things happen.

The Distorted Meaning of Humility

Too many people today see humility as being a quiet doormat, a passive or reticent mummy who is glad to step into the background.  How wrong this view is !  Does this describe Christ to you?  It does not do that for me!  Christ was the ultimate in humility yet he was no wallflower.  Humility means thinking of God and others before self, but that may require us to be very assertive and tough at times. For example, suppose someone was spitting at an image of Christ.  Would you just step back quietly or do something about it?  People imagine a humble person as not thinking that they are qualified to speak or act in many cases, but that is not what humility really is.

Humility is not about being scared or so passive as to be insignificant in this world.  Just look at the most humble Christ and Mary and ask if they have made a difference in this world.

The Culprit…Humiliation and Its Difference to Humility

When people distort humility, they are usually doing it via humiliation, which many people think means the same thing.  Humility is directed at voluntarily embracing God and others before our own interests. It is not about shame or comparison with others. By contrast, humiliation is all about shame and comparison and self and has nothing voluntary about it.

When we are humiliated, it is because we feel shame in comparing ourselves to others and feeling that we have been reduced somehow in that comparison against our will ( involuntary).  Being bashed by a teacher in public or laughed at by onlookers is humiliating if one somehow feels reduced in the eyes of others by this situation.

There is the key difference between humility and humiliation:  humility is voluntarily placing, serving, and loving God and others before self and humiliation is involuntarily  feeling reduced or shamed openly and publicly in comparison to how we see ourselves.  The person who thinks she can sing and is laughed off stage is humiliated. The one who knows she cannot sing and is laughed off stage was expecting the response and may laughingly go along with the response.

The Solution

You should never and will never be humiliated serving and loving God and others as long as you realize and embrace the fact that doing so is the greatest calling we can have. However, doing these things will go hand in hand with being humble because they are the very essence of what being humble is all about.  Many say Jesus died a humiliating death but I propose that he died a humble death.  He willingly and freely gave himself up to love and serve God and us and there is nothing humiliating about that.

So understand the difference between humility and humiliation and make it your goal to be the former so you will never experience the latter.

2017  Gabriel Garnica