“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”
-John 14: 27
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I continue to struggle with rules. I struggle between my sense of being controlled versus the freedom that comes with obedience to rules. Well, my struggle continues.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church. This religious and spiritual environment gave me plenty of opportunity for rebellion, both as a child and in the present. The Catholic Church has left us with a history of abuse of power, abuse of people, and abuse of the Divine responsibility to which she was entrusted. I have also been involved in other organized religions which offer similar histories. As I ponder my own addictive history, I am witness to my own history of abuse of Divine responsibility. So just where do I get off judging an organization, of which I am a member, with such arrogance? Any organization is only as strong as its roots. I have obviously abused my self-assigned duty to judge! I have obviously lost my identity as being the roots of an organization.
As I envision the roots of any structure, anything above the roots is doomed to destruction and death if the root base is weak and rotting. Now, where does that put my arrogant self? It puts me in a position to discern my identity and responsibilities in relation to any organization which is structured within a base of rules.
Deep, cleansing breath.
Over the past couple of years, I have repeatedly admitted my struggle with accepting God’s grace and peace. Grace and peace are the gifts of obedience to the rules of sobriety. Grace and peace are the benefits of living the greatest commandment of Jesus the Christ: Love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12) I found these words of encouragement within the doors of the Catholic Church over the past couple weeks. I heard these words from some of the friends who are Spirit filled members of our local Catholic church. They are Spirit filled members of a Catholic Church with a history of abuse. This Church also has a history of faith filled services to millions of people in need, both locally and world- wide. In my judgmental anger, I have blinded myself to the goodness born of love.Love has resulted in a marriage celebration of 46+ years.
Love has resulted in the witness of four children living a life of service to ones greater than themselves. Love is the joy of six grandchildren. Love is the sustenance of sobriety and the openness which magnifies the most subtle bits of evidence of this power greater than me. Love is all of you as the skin to my Higher Power, my God.
Why do I struggle with obedience to the very sustenance of my being?
My ego is really on a head trip.
The answers are within. The answers are in the relationship with the ongoing revelation of a God far beyond my ability, and willingness to comprehend. The answers are in our universe of relationships.
I sense a gentle hand on my shoulder and a voice of patient support: This is a good struggle, Greg. Remember, I AM with you always.
WE ARE with each other always. WE ARE the body of our Higher Power, our God. We are somewhere between the ardent efforts of our intentions to be in union with our God, and the miracles that occur almost in spite of us. We are in the eye of turmoil and peace, of grace and resistance, and of mystery.
We are beside the waters, and white caps are apparent. But look! There is an off- shore wind to the east. That means the waters are restful in the shelter of the trees. I am sure these trees have strong roots. We’ll get there. We’ll have to get through the white caps, but we will get there.