Built Solid and Strong

 

It was a black Brimnes wardrobe with 3 doors. It had a mirror mounted in the front and lots of shelves inside for storage. I was so excited to make my purchase at Ikea, deliver it to my house and prepare to put the entire wardrobe together.

I opened the box, laid out all of the pieces and began the assembly process. Not too bad, I thought. I can look at the final photo and figure everything out. I mean, how tough could it be to put together?

Yeah, right. It took me three minutes to get confused. Was “A” a left side panel or right? Which screws was I supposed to use for the top? Did I attach the shelves first or last?

I knew I was in over my head and reached for the instructions.

That made me think about how I assemble the days of my life. Am I simply laying out all my pieces and randomly trying to put things together? Do I know my priorities ? Do I know the steps I should follow to get things accomplished?

If only life came with instructions.

Ah…but they do. God has given us two simple instructions:

  1. Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

That’s it. The instructions are clear and easy to understand…IF we take the time to read them. So often we think we can do everything on our own. I don’t need God’s help. I can figure this out on my own. I have all the answers.

But there always comes a moment when we realize that our lives are made up of lots of screws and lots of shelves, each with different uses.

If we take the time to ask for help and follow God’s instructions, there is no doubt that our lives will be built solid and strong.

 

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK

 

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The Canvas of Life

My friend Joyce is a very talented painter. She focuses on abstracts and has the ability to combine unique colors and patterns in an emotional way on the canvas.

Her art is hard for me to explain. It’s really just a bunch of shapes and lines put together on a canvas. But Joyce is really good at what she does. She knows how to combine the right colors and right brush strokes and the right placement…and the right amount of love with each of her paintings.

Her secret is simple. Years ago she decided who she wanted to be as a painter. She thought about it long and hard, and even wrote down a mission statement for her work. She was clear and concise in her definition.

It was only after she had something that she felt truly passionate about did she actually begin her work. She couldn’t really “live her art” without knowing who she was as an artist.

This philosophy shows up in every piece she creates. It’s complex, it’s exciting, and its full of life.

Who are you as an “artist” of your faith? Do you have a philosophy for how you live your days? Are you passionate about your mission? Are you willing to work hard, every day, to accomplish your plans?

Do the results of your daily actions demonstrate who you are? Are you complex, exciting and full of life?

They say art imitates life, but sometimes we learn our best life lessons from art…and from the artists who create the work.

 

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

 

Who is Jesus?

A Message from Deacon Greg Diciaula

In Mark’s  Gospel, we learn some interesting details about Jesus’ early life. He’s known to be a carpenter, probably learning this trade from Joseph. Strangely, Mark describes Jesus as “the son of Mary.” This is unusual since adult males were typically identified with the name of their fathers. Brothers and sisters of Jesus are also mentioned. Scripture scholars are divided on how to interpret this.

As Catholics, we believe that Mary was and always remained a virgin, thus we don’t believe that this refers to other children of Mary. Some scholars suggest that these family members might be Joseph’s children from a previous marriage. Others explain the words brother and sister often referred to relatives, including cousins or nieces, and nephews.

The theme of Mark’s Gospel is: who is Jesus? The townspeople of Nazareth might know the carpenter, the son of Mary, but they don’t know Jesus, the Son of God. We’re told that Jesus is hampered from performing miracles in Nazareth because the people lack faith. Mark is foreshadowing Jesus’ rejection by his own people, the people of Israel. While many of the first Christians were Jewish, Christianity took hold and flourished in the Gentile communities. Mark is writing for a mostly Gentile community, who may have been experiencing persecution. By showing that Jesus himself was rejected, Mark consoles and reassures his first readers.

He is also alerting us of the possible consequences of Christian discipleship. By living as disciples of Jesus in an increasingly secular world, are we willing to accept ridicule, criticism and possible rejection?

God bless you!

 

Deacon Greg Diciaula